Abby is adventurous and courageous. She’s usually the first in her family and her peers to try new and daring things. These are all traits that served Abby well throughout her healing process.

Abby came to Special Kids in 2005 when she was four years old after suffering a stroke that was a result of an e. Coli infection which developed into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is a condition caused by the abnormal destruction of red blood cells. While at Special Kids, Abby received physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapies and she has attended our summer program, Camp Ability, in the past as well. She also participated in “Hoofbeats,” horse therapy program, when it was operating.

Abby’s mom Julie shares, “Initially, Abby was paralyzed on her right side, she could not walk or sit up, she could not use her right hand, she could not speak, drink, or eat, and she was blind. She spent four weeks in Vanderbilt Children’s hospital battling and recovering from the initial infection and five weeks in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s inpatient rehabilitation unit recovering from the effects of the stroke. Her cognitive abilities were not impaired. She is in good health today and is still working to overcome the effects of the stroke. Her speech remains a work in progress. She can communicate clearly enough to function at school and in most environments. She writes left handed and is doing well academically. Abby’s sight/vision began to return not long after she came to Special Kids (she surprised us all one day by identifying the colors of the balls in the ball pit!). She recently had another dramatic increase in vision in her right eye (going from 20/500 to 20/30) following surgery to correct a muscle weakness issue. Her peripheral vision is yet to return fully in both eyes, but we are hopeful for more miraculous improvements and full restoration of her vision and speech.”

By the time Abby came to Special Kids, she had regained gross motor function in her right side and was able to walk. However, she was still unable to use her right hand, unable to eat, drink, or speak, she had a G-tube for feeding, and she was still blind. “One of the first goals for Abby was to work on her swallowing and fine motor skills in her right and left hands, so she could eat Thanksgiving dinner at the table with our family. She met that goal, not only eating dinner with us, but began to be able to feed herself. Her G-tube was removed the following January. She continued to recover strength in her fine motor skills and speech to the point that she was able to decrease therapy at Special Kids and focus on therapies related to school work. She is currently homeschooled, is going into her Junior year, and is enrolled in a class at MTSU this fall. All in all, her attitude and overall health remain strong. Abby aspires to be a model and an author and has written many short stories and keeps a journal of thoughts and quotes that reflect her views about life,” says Julie. 

Julie lastly shares, “Special Kids meant so much more to us than therapy and recovery for Abby. Special Kids became the family through which support, comfort, love, and the encouragement we needed was provided. It was a time and place of tremendous growth and strengthening for us (for me especially). My hope for Abby’s future healing, as well as, the other children and families ministered to by Special Kids, remains strong. I have always been aware of and thankful for the blessing that Special Kids is to our community. So many of the children and families we met early on in our journey were not as fortunate as we were to have a place like Special Kids nearby. Special Kids is a beautiful expression of God’s grace at work among us.”