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When Eden Hoelscher became paralyzed during a simple gymnastic move, her family traveled across the country to get her back on her feet.
On Dec. 23, 2015, Eden was a typical 5-year-old playing with her older sister, Isabella, when the unthinkable happened. Eden was performing a backbend — a gymnastic and dance move she had done hundreds of times — when she fell to the ground in agony. She was paralyzed from the waist down.
“We were in absolute disbelief,” said Kylee Hoelscher, Eden’s mother. “We lived in Los Angeles at the time, and every hospital we took Eden to gave us the same answer: She was going to be paralyzed the rest of her life.”
Unwilling to give up, Kylee and Nicholas, Eden’s father, moved their family to Louisville to work with the team at Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health. The team quickly earned the trust of the Hoelscher family.
“They made treatment fun for Eden and encouraged her goofy personality to come through,” Kylee said. “Some physicians and physical therapists just do what they were taught in school. At Frazier Rehab Institute, they look outside the box.”
Within 50 days, Eden was able to take her first steps with the support of a friend named Violet, who was visiting Eden from California.
Kylee recalls Eden predicting the progress she made with her friend’s support.
“Eden said, ‘Violet loves me so much,’” Kylee recalled. “‘I think when she gets here, her love will be so strong it will make me walk.’”
During a physical therapy session, Eden and Violet had an imaginary swordfight. While the physical therapist held Eden up, she began taking steps toward Violet and eventually made it all the way around the room and into the hallway. The family will always remember the day she took those first steps.
Nicholas, Eden, Isabella and Kylee Hoelscher
Grateful for the support and life-changing care Eden has received, the Hoelscher family are now firm supporters of Frazier Rehab Institute. They routinely raise funds for Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation to support the facility that changed their daughter’s life, and invite the rest of the community to do the same.
“People come to Frazier Rehab Institute from all over the world. We want to give to a program that really makes a difference in the lives of children,” said Kylee.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 Spring edition of One Health magazine.