A 4-year-old girl, Maya Tisdale with cerebral palsy in Michigan made everyone emotional when her mom posted a video of her taking her very first independent steps.
In the video clip, Maya stands by herself and says: “I’m walking! … I’m walking!”
“I’m walking Guys! Yes! … I even took a big step.”
Her mother, Ann Tisdale, told ABC News that Maya was born four months early at 26 weeks and weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces at birth. Her fighting spirit in the NICU earned her the nickname “Mighty Miss Maya” among family and friends.
Before turning 2, Maya was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. This specific type of cerebral palsy caused “the muscles in her hips, legs and feet to be tight or spastic” and left her “unable to stand on her own for more than a few seconds, or walk without the use of a walker.”
Ann said that despite being diagnosed, Maya is very independent and want to do everything that her two older brothers do.
She said: “We’re always trying to help her and she always says, ‘No, I can do it!'”
“She doesn’t need or want help to do things. She’s going to try to do it herself.”
Maya’s parents started a fundraiser to help raise money to cover costs related to the surgery and post-surgery therapies.
They wrote on their family website: ‘’Maya has had to go through so much in her short life.
She’s had multiple rounds of Botox, endured painful daily stretches, spent time in special standers for prolonged stretching, etc.to try to ease her uncomfortable spasticity. Unfortunately, these are only temporary treatments for a lifelong condition.
As she grows, her spasticity will likely lead to multiple orthopaedic surgeries, permanent changes to her bones and joints and, like so many others with CP, she could lose her current level of mobility.’’
”After learning that Maya could lose her current level of mobility due to prolonged spasticity my daughter and son-in-law began searching for better treatment options.
‘’After countless appointments with specialists and lots of research they learned about a life-changing surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR).During SDR, a surgical team will expose the spinal nerves, use electromyography (EMG) to test each nerve in order to determine which are causing the most spasticity, and then selectively cut those abnormal rootlets causing the most spasticity.
This surgery is the only option to permanently reduce Maya’s spasticity, giving her the ability to live with less pain and greater mobility.’’
On March 27, Maya and her family traveled to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, where she underwent a surgical procedure called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.
According to their family website, the surgery was meant to “permanently reduce Maya’s spasticity, giving her the ability to live with less pain and greater mobility.”
After surgery Doctors told them that she would be able to walk “someday” but not without gruelling, daily physical therapy.
“We expected where Maya was before surgery that it would take her at least six months to a year to get to independent steps and here we are seven weeks after. … She’s just kind of blowing it out of the water,” Ann said.
“Maya still has CP (cerebral palsy). She still has the damage in her brain and she still has some tightness in her legs.
… She’s going to continue with physical therapy five days a week, just like we’ve been doing, and get stronger and practice her skill of walking,” she said.“But to just to have those first steps and knowing that it’s possible is so great for her and our family,’’ she added.
They posted the video of Maya taking her first step on their Facebook page ‘Mighty Miss Maya – Will to Walk’ with the caption: ”First Steps – 4 years, 10 months ❤️ ❤️❤️ I can’t even put into words how we are feeling. Nothing seems to fit the enormity of this moment for us. We are beyond proud of our Mighty Girl.”