Eden Hoelscher was left paralyzed from the waist down after performing a backbend that damaged her entire spine this past December. The 5-year-old was doing gymnastic bridges on her living room floor with her mom watching her in their California home, when she collapsed all of a sudden.
She told her mom that her hips and legs felt like they were “sleeping,” according to PEOPLE. However, Eden isn’t letting her injury dampen her cheerful attitude.
Her mom, 36-year-old Kylee Hoelscher, rushed her to the hospital, only to be told by doctors that Eden had lost her ability to walk–Eden’s bowels and bladder do not function properly, nor can her body regulate its own temperature. For any parent, this situation sounds like a nightmare. Kylee told ABC News how devastating the news was:
“The damage, it’s her entire spine and it doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s just a backbend and it’s just devastating. You go from watching your 100 percent independent kid who dressed herself, put her hair in a pony tail to not being able to get out of bed and it’s almost impossible to bear.”
Unfortunately, Eden’s doctors aren’t sure why the backbend paralyzed her, citing it as an incredibly rare incident. Julie Hershberg, Eden’s neurological physical therapist, stated for ABC News:
“It’s just one of those enigmas.”
Yet, Eden surprised everyone with her resiliency, and went back to school only two months later. She currently uses a wheelchair to move around. Hershberg attested to Eden’s tough attitude–and her own mother has said she has “not changed” despite the ordeal:
“She is a tough little girl full of fight and determination. Kids could be hard to keep on task and focused, but she is probably the hardest working child or adult I’ve ever worked with… I think that’s going to go a long way in recovery. She just blows me away.”
Kylee went on to explain to ABC how she goes to physical therapy without ever getting mad or getting too discouraged:
“She’s still her same laughing, giggly, silly self. She wins over the heart of everyone she knows. It’s amazing that her spirit has completely gone unchanged. The doctor said that’s one of the things that she has going for her. In physical therapy, she won’t cry or get mad, she’ll just try as hard as she can.”
While the story is incredibly sad, as Eden no longer as the independence and autonomy she once had–which may become harder to adjust to as she gets older–it is inspiring to see how accidents and severe injuries do not have to completely change us. Of course, they may change our lives, but we can work with the changes, just as Eden does.
So far, $21,000 has been raised on Eden’s GoFundMe page, which was started by her family to raise funds for her treatment.