ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Six-year-old Mahi Patel was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was 8 months old. After a lot of hard work, she can finally walk on her own.
Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects someone's ability to move and maintain balance. It's the most common motor disability in childhood.
Mahi underwent a four-hour surgery called a selective dorsal rhizotomy at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
“The first time I met her was before her recent surgery," Mahi's occupational therapist at the hospital, Cody Wipperman, said.
Since her surgery, Mahi has done a lot of intense physical therapy. Although the tasks can be a challenge for her, Mahi said physical therapy is something she looks forward to. A big reason why she loves it is because of Wipperman.
“Mahi is one of those kids that’s never upset, she comes here and works so hard," Wipperman said.
During therapy sessions, Mahi and Wipperman get a lot of work done but they do it with a lot of laughs and smiles. Mahi calls Wipperman her best friend.
“We instantly, I just feel like, connected," he said.
Mahi's mom said this journey has been extremely difficult. The day they received her diagnosis is a moment she'll never forget.
“It was the worst day ever of my life," Archana Patel said.
Patel said she is extremely proud of how far her daughter has come. She said she knows there is still a long road ahead, but she is confident that her daughter will continue giving her all.
“She’s my princess she is my heart," Patel said.