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OK, a toddler born with a spinal defect becomes the real Forrest Gump

OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Oklahoma (KFOR) — About two years ago, a Midwest City family received word that their newborn would have a spinal defect and that she may never be able to walk, but now their daughter is running, climbing and swinging.

“We thought on the day of diagnosis three years ago that our world was going to be turned upside down,” said Megan Kershaw.

Her husband Robert told KFOR doctors that their daughter would be born with spina bifida.

Spina bifida is a spinal deformity that develops in the womb where the spinal cord does not form properly.

“That can lead to nerve damage, lower extremity weakness and sometimes core weakness,” said Daryn Wauters, a physical therapist assistant with OU Health at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.

Robert said they were told that six out of 10 babies diagnosed with spina bifida will be aborted.

“It was pretty difficult to hear that upfront,” added Robert. “It was pretty scary.”

Their now two-year-old daughter Millie and Megan underwent surgery before Millie was born to repair her spine while still in the womb.

“It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” Megan said.

After Millie was born, her family told KFOR that they were determined to get her on her feet and walking again.

Millie did physical therapy at another facility for a year before transferring to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health.

Wauters is part of Millie’s physiotherapy team.

She has now spent about a year there with a physical therapy team.

“She’s doing so well that we’ve finished physical therapy. Now she just walks and plays like a normal kid,” Megan said.

When Megan and Robert saw Millie walk for the first time, they said they were all so excited that they even shed a few tears.

“We feel really blessed that she can walk,” Megan said.

Millie’s physical therapy team is just as excited.

“That’s why I do my job. I always say I have one of the best jobs in the world because I get to meet some of the most amazing kids and families and support them and help their kids reach the highest level of functioning they can and it really is so rewarding ‘ Wauters said. “It just makes my heart happy. I fall in love with these children and their families. And when they achieve those goals and I see that their parents are excited about it and for their child because I’m a mother myself, I know they’re excited to see that and that just makes me happy.”

Robert remembers when Millie broke out of her first pair of suspenders and said it reminded him of the movie Forrest Gump.

“I think she’ll run out of these next [Millie’s current braces], just like with her first braces. It was kind of cool, like in the movie Forrest Gump, when he runs, the braces break. I picture it the way she did it,” Robert explained.

Before officially completing physical therapy, Wauters said there were still a few milestones to be reached.

“We’re just perfecting her balance and walking. She walks, runs, but still walks across different surfaces. We’re just trying to perfect that so she can run and keep up with her siblings and peers,” Wauters said.

Megan told KFOR when Millie is five or six years old, she will have another operation, but this time on her legs.

The surgery aims to straighten Millie’s legs.

Meanwhile, Megan and Robert said they would move on with their normal lives and love their three children unconditionally.

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