Adorable Girl With Spina Bifida Learning to Walk, Ride a Bike After Parents Reject Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 10, 2020   |   6:39PM   |   St. Petersburg, Florida

A Florida 3-year-old with spina bifida has become a ray of sunshine for families across the world.

Harper-Mae Ardolino-Comparin can walk on her own and recently began learning how to ride a bike, the Daily Mail reports.

But before she was born, doctors encouraged her parents, Erica and Fred, of St. Petersburg, Florida, to consider ending their daughter’s life in an abortion.

“We were devastated when we were advised to terminate the pregnancy. It felt like we had just lost our child even though we hadn’t,” Erica said. “Even when we told the doctor we were choosing not to go ahead with the option to terminate, he proceeded to give us this option multiple times afterwards and even let me know that if I were his wife he would tell her the same thing.”

Harper-Mae was diagnosed with a severe form of spina bifida after her mother’s 18-week pregnancy scan, and doctors told her parents that she likely would be paralyzed from the belly button down, the report states.

Refusing to give up hope, the Ardolino-Comparins began to research spina bifida online, and eventually Erica and Harper-Mae underwent fetal surgery at 25 weeks of pregnancy to correct some of the problems with Harper-Mae’s spine, according to the report.

Since she was born on Sept. 19, 2016, the little girl has had eight additional surgeries, but today her parents said she is a normal 3-year-old.

“Whilst growing up with spina bifida isn’t always the easiest and certainly has its ups and downs, Harper has been able to live life just like a normal 3-year-old little girl,” her mother said.

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Here’s more from the report:

In February 2017, Harper-Mae began physical therapy sessions where therapists organized activities for her to do to help with her mobility and strength. Harper’s physical therapy now includes obstacle courses, puzzles, and dancing around the room to music.

She started learning to walk with the help of a walker, and she progressed so well that her physical therapists determined that she may one day be able to take steps without it.

Recently, she began walking without her walker and even started learning to ride a bike, her mother said.

“Whilst we know that mobility and function does not define a child, nor would we ever let it define Harper or change our love for her, it was the most amazing moment to watch her begin to walk,” Erica said.

The family started a Facebook page where people can follow their journey. They hope Harper-Mae’s story will raise awareness about spina bifida and encourage other families struggling with their child’s diagnosis.

“We felt this was an amazing opportunity to not only let our friends and family keep up to date with Harper but saw it as a great chance to spread positivity about spina bifida,” her mother said. “[A chance to] give newly diagnosed parents real life photos and information about a child with spina bifida, and to spread joy and happiness to as many people as possible.

“We truly feel that she will be a bright light in our world and that she will help to not only redefine spina bifida but change the perspective that people have about disabilities in general,” she said.