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A LITTLE GIRL WITH BIG COURAGE By Brendan Kappler

A typical day for Heather would start with her waking up waving goodbye to her sister Amber as she boarded the school bus to take to school. However, in October, 2003 when Heather was just seventeen months old, she never waved goodbye to her Amber on the school bus. Concerned that something might be wrong, her mother entered into Heather’s room to find her in her crib, lying on her back, with her eyes sunk into her head looking lifeless.

Heather was rushed immediately to the hospital where a team of specialists including heart doctors and neurologists ran extensive tests on her through the night. It was determined that Heather’s entire left side had been paralyzed entirely; this affected her sense of smell and sight. Heather was never diagnosed with a definite condition but with presumed herpetic encaphalitis. Heather was placed in the intensive care wing of the hospital for five weeks. It was around this time that she started to have seizures daily. Despite all of this and, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the doctors, Heather was able to come home on Christmas Eve.

Heather would go through extensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy at about fifteen sessions a week for a period of three years. She had regained the ability to walk in about three months as well as her eyesight and sense of smell. However, Heather’s left arm and hand are still paralyzed to this day. Five years later and she is still undergoing speech as well as other therapies and must take a carefully balanced medicine to control her myoclonic seizures.

Despite all of this, Heather lives her life much like any other seven year old and attends regular schooling.

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