A year ago, I met a little girl named Zoe at Wishbone Day, an event to raise awareness for children with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, commonly known as Brittle Bone disorder.
I remember Zoe was lying on her back on a quilt in the park with a cast on her leg, on the mend from her 6th bone fracture in 2 months. Zoe could not sit up on her own, her fragile spine would shatter if she even tried. Her doctors said Zoe would never walk. Born broken into the world, Zoe’s only view that day was the sky.
Zoe needed our help. A few weeks later, the calvary arrived. The Chivers raised over $100,000 for Zoe in 3 hours flat. And just like that, there was hope.
Zoe is about to turn 3 years old and much has changed in her life since that day. Zoe learned how to sit up on her own, even crawl. She helps her mom with the dishes sometimes. theCHIVERS have helped pay for crucial telescopic rodding surgeries to strengthen Zoe’s fragile frame. The Lush family has also welcomed a new baby boy, Felix, to the family.
Oh and last Saturday, Zoe Lush stood up.
I spoke with Zoe’s mother, Chelsea after it happened. She was in shock.
“It happened in the pool where Zoe is lighter. I had never seen my daughter upright before. It was the single proudest moment for me, even more than her birth. I was seeing something I thought I’d never see.”
But that night, something even more amazing happened.
“I was bathing Zoe. She takes a bath in a laundry basket so she can hold onto the sides for support. I saw Zoe grab the side of the basket and pull herself to her knees. All sorts of alarms went off in my head. Zoe’s so fragile and you can imagine how freaking protective a mother this has all made me. But I didn’t stop her, I watched.
… Zoe just looked at me with the most mischievous smile, then she sat back down. A moment passed and she repeated the action. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is not fleeting, it’s happening. Zoe is determined to walk.'”
Since then, Zoe has been taking more steps everyday. Chelsea has ordered a pediatric walker to aid her mobility.
Despite the fact that each step could bring another painful fracture, Zoe wakes up everyday determined to take another step. The last six months have seen Zoe catching up for lost time. Once a passive observer of nothing more than the sky above, now she’s discovering objects around her, learning their names. Discovery is the root of speech and Zoe’s vocabulary is expanding quickly.
Soon she will use her walker to seek out new discoveries. Zoe has surprised her family, her doctors, and all of us here at theCHIVE. But Zoe understands her own limitations better than the experts and she’s stronger than we thought.
Her body’s intuition, helped by a feeling, that she can rise.