Never tell someone they may never walk — because they might just do it.
Five-year-old Camden Hanson, who lives with a brain condition that affects his ability to walk, took his first unaided steps on Saturday and celebrated the victory on video with his mom, Mandy Hanson.
Hanson shared the video of her son walking through their Woodstock, Ga., living room on Twitter this past weekend. Clearly a welcome reprieve from an upsetting news cycle, the video already had nearly eight million views by Friday morning.
“Since we all could use a little happiness in our lives these days: My youngest son (age 5) has progressive cerebellar atrophy and is physically handicapped,” Hanson wrote in the tweet. “He also has 10 therapies a week. Today, he finally took independent steps. #MyHero #NeverGiveUp.”
In the footage, Camden can be seen walking slowly across the room before collapsing onto a love seat on the other side of the room. His mom cheers in the background, overcome by the milestone her son had just hit.
The moments leading up to this success were just as special, though, because they show just how far a bit of perseverance and support can go. In another video shared by Today, Camden can be heard saying he didn’t think he could walk across the room while reaching out for his mom’s hand.
“Yes, you can,” Hanson replies in the video.
Camden’s parents first realized their son was struggling at 18 months old when he had problems learning to walk.
“That was when we noticed he was very off balance and was trying to walk but had an abnormal gait not typical of a toddler,” Hanson told Today. “After pursuing many possibilities for the cause, we then visited a local neurologist who conducted an MRI and that is where we saw the cerebellar atrophy.”
According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Centre, Camden’s disease involves the deterioration of nerve cells in the cerebellum, the area of the brain that controls muscle co-ordination and balance.
In Camden’s case, speech, balance and walking are a challenge. Doctors and therapists told his family it was unlikely he’d ever walk at all without help.
MRIs show that his atrophy is worsening but doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint the gene causing it, Hanson told Today.
“We’ve been told that even if we eventually identify the genes causing his atrophy, because his condition is so rare, he may be the only one identified in the world with this condition, and he alone will write the future for this disease,” Hanson said.
The boy is now part of a research study by Harvard that helps families, like the Hansons, with mysterious health conditions.
“We might not be able to help Camden, but we can help others.”
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