A boy who was told he would never walk has taken his first steps. in a video that has been viewed nearly eight million times online.
Camden Brooks Hanson, five, has cerebellar atrophy, a degenerative condition which affects the part of the brain that controls functions including co-ordination, balance and speech.
Camden, from Woodstock, Georgia, in the United States, has been in physiotherapy since he was 18 months old, and had never taken more than a couple of steps unaided until Saturday.
“He has taken one or two independent steps in the past, but typically falls right after,” Camden’s mother Mandy Hanson told the PA news agency.
“Many doctors and therapists told us they didn’t think he would ever walk independently, and look at him now.”
A video of the moment he walked across a room for the first time was posted on Twitter by Mrs Hanson, and has been viewed 7.6 million times, amassing more than 400,000 likes.
Genetic tests have been unable to highlight the exact cause of Camden’s atrophy, but MRI scans have shown it worsening over time.
“The ‘unknown’ is very scary because we are unsure what his prognosis and future looks like,” Mrs Hanson said.
She described Camden as a “very happy little boy” who “loves being silly and making people laugh”.
She added: “In his pre-k class this past year, he received the Biggest Heart award out of 22 students, because his teacher said that he was always so loving to his teachers and peers.”
Camden has physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, meaning he undertakes about 10 sessions a week.
Coronavirus lockdown has meant conducting those sessions online, with Camden’s parents also homeschooling and working full-time jobs, which Mrs Hanson said was “difficult”.
But Camden is due to start pre-school education in the autumn, and his parents hope he will continue to make progress.
Since we all could use a little happiness in our lives these daysâ¤ï¸ My youngest son (age 5) has progressive cerebellar atrophy and is physically handicapped. He also has 10 therapies a week. Today, he finally took independent steps!! #MyHero #NeverGiveUp pic.twitter.com/HZhU2yt6sH— Mandy Hanson (@MandyAUtiger19) June 13, 2020
“Our hope is that he starts kindergarten using just his crutches, and eventually can walk around the room using just one of them,” Mrs Hanson said.
After a difficult few months, Mrs Hanson said it was an “incredible” moment to see her son take his first steps.
“Everything Camden accomplishes, big or small, is celebrated, but watching him take so many independent steps and feel so confident that he could finally do it was an incredible feeling,” she said.
“We are so proud of him and blessed that he is our son.”