Five-year old girl walks for first time after life-changing surgery

WOODBRIDGE, Conn. (WTNH) —  A New Haven five year old girl is back in Connecticut after undergoing life-changing surgery.

Now, walking for the first time is more of a reality for Ajia Lewis.

Carried in by her grandfather, a determined Ajia Lewis with braces on her legs, got a thorough evaluation here at Amity Physical Therapy.

Owner Michael Dow, a licensed physical therapist, is trying to determine what course of therapy the five year old will face in the coming months. The goal is to get Ajia walking for the first time.

It’s something she is resolved to do. “I’m going to walk,” said Ajia.

She has spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which kept her from taking that first step.

“We have to restore some flexibility from the surgery.  She has been immobilized for quite awhile,” Dow said, “We have to get her upright, working on things like balance, are pretty complex systems.”

Ajia had a procedure known as Dorsal Rhizotomy in April.

Doctors in Florida lengthened her calf and thigh muscles.

Her mom, Christian Lewis, buoyed by her doctors’ optimism, said, “We’re on our way.  We’re making strides and we’re making strides to get her to walking.”

Assessing Ajia’s trunk control was priority one at this visit.

Dow said, “She has a hard time transitioning between sitting, standing, things that we all take for granted.”

Her tenacity, like the little blue engine that could, has earned her mother’s admiration.

Lewis points to her positive attitude of “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, now it’s I know I can, I know I can.”

It is taking a village of family, friends and strangers to overcome continued financial difficulties, to get this soft spoken little girl, to where she is now.  And she is grateful for their support.

Ajia just completed six weeks of therapy in Florida.

She will undergo therapy twice a week here in Connecticut.

The family is hopeful she’ll be walking by the end of the year.

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