6-year-old paralyzed after fluke backbend now finds hope in Louisville

California girl, 6, receiving cutting-edge treatment in Louisville after being paralyzed

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Six-year old Eden is a girl on the move, even when moving gets tough.

"She wakes me up in the morning and is like, 'Let's go, let's go, let's go,'" Eden's dad, Nick Hoelscher, said.

Eden suffered a shocking injury in December after a simple gymnastics move.

"She was doing a backbend, not even like a backbend, a bridge, where you push yourself up on the floor," said Eden's mom, Kylee
Hoelscher. "She said that she had done it three times. And the fourth time, she just collapsed."

Her parents said at first it was pain, and then no feeling at all.

"Her legs were kind of crossed kind of weirdly, so I said 'Eden, move your legs,' and she said 'I can't,'" her mother said. "And I said, 'Eden, unbend
your leg.' And she said, 'I can't.' So I picked her up and her legs just buckled."

Doctors can't say exactly what caused Eden's traumatic spinal cord injury, but the diagnosis was clear.

"The doctor came in and said, 'She's a paraplegic,'" Kylee Hoelscher said. "Just stated that so matter of fact-ly and I called Nick and said, 'You need to get here now.'"

Since that moment, the California family has been searching for answers. Across the country, right here in Louisville, a bit of hope has surfaced in a locomotor therapy program at Frazier Rehab and KentuckyOne Health.

"We heard of a program here at Frazier Rehab," Kylee Hoelscher said. "It's actually one of the only kind in the world. It's called the pediatric locomotor
training."

Eden's doctor, Dr. Andrea Behrman, Ph.D, PT, said the locomotor therapy consists of a total of 60 sessions, for an hour-and-a-half each day. It starts on a treadmill contraption and continues with different exercises that send messages to Eden's spinal cord.

"It's based on this idea that the spinal cord is somewhat like a brain, like a mini-brain," Behrman explained. "So this activity is meant to turn on that system."

The Hoelscher family said they're starting to notice small improvements. And the team behind Eden has its sights set on recovery.

"We see recovery as the goal, so that guides our decision making every day," Behrman said.

The Hoelscher family is sharing Eden's story not to relive the backbend and that terrifying day six months ago, but to share a piece of hope in locomotor therapy and a promise that 6-year-old Eden won't stop moving.

"You think that you're never going to smile again," Kylee Hoelscher said. "And you will."

For more information on child paralysis and to find out if your child might be a candidate for this therapy, click here.

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