After their otherwise cheerful and active child complained of back pain and struggled to stand up or move his arms, a couple became extremely worried. They immediately took him to the hospital, where the doctors gave them a painful prognosis.
Alaric Bridgeman is loved immensely, described by his parents Dustin Bridgeman and Sarah Newell as a playful and happy child. They live in New Castle, Pennsylvania with Alaric’s three affectionate older sisters — Allyson, Ava, and Everly.
All was well until late 2020 when the family of six underwent an unpleasant and challenging period.
How It All Began
The Pennsylvania family’s struggle began in December 2020 when Dustin and Sarah said their son complained about a muscle in his back. At the time, the parents said little Alaric didn’t have mobility issues.
Per Alaric’s parents, the doctors weren’t sure if their son would be able to walk again.
A day later, Alaric’s mom and dad said they took him to a chiropractor, followed by a local emergency room. To their dismay, their sweet boy had trouble standing up on his own and could not move his limbs.
A Painful Realization
At first, Dustin thought his son had contracted COVID-19, but it didn’t take him long to realize that it wasn’t the case. The distraught dad recalled:
“I lifted his leg and it fell down. I said, ‘Look. He’s paralyzed.'”
Upon the hospital staff’s advice, Alaric’s parents took him to Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio, to a neurologist. Once they arrived in Ohio, Alaric was said to be completely paralyzed.
Lost & Clueless
Dustin said it was a tremendously difficult time for him and his wife because they felt lost and utterly clueless. While their son tested negative for COVID-19, he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis — a neurological condition affecting the spinal cord nerves.
Shortly afterward, Dustin and Sarah said their little boy’s treatment started, which included physical and occupational therapy sessions. Per Alaric’s parents, the doctors weren’t sure if their son would be able to walk again.
A Ray of Hope
Even though recovery was an enormous challenge, the New Castle couple noted that their sweet boy gradually improved. According to the Akron Children’s Hospital’s post, Alaric showed “some intentional movement” on December 2020, which emerged as a beacon of hope.
The determined tot reportedly met with physical therapists at least twice daily and walked around the hospital with his dad’s support. The father-son duo was said to have made friends with everyone they met along the way.
A Cheerful Sendoff
Eventually, after a lot of hard work, strength, and courage, the little fighter and his parents received a piece of heartwarming news — their beloved boy was ready to go home.
On January 29, 2021, friends, family, and the hospital staff, known as “Alaric’s Army,” gathered to give the toddler a lovely send-off. The emotional footage showed the two-year-old boy walking down the hallway using his walker with people cheering him on.
The Little Warrior
As the Pennsylvania tot reached the finish line decorated with flags and a banner that read “I did it!” one of his physical therapists caught him and wrapped him into a warm hug.
Akron Children’s Hospital shared the adorable video of “Small but mighty” Alaric on Instagram and Facebook on February 4. A part of the caption read:
“It was a very exciting day to send Alaric home and see all the incredible progress he has made!”
Nothing but Gratitude
Seeing their little boy take his first steps on his own legs was a moment of sheer joy and relief for Alaric’s parents. His mom and dad revealed that their son loved excavators, monster trucks, and construction vehicles.
They noted that he also enjoyed playing baseball before the terrifying ordeal and hoped he would be able to play again soon. Dustin and Sarah also thanked the hospital staff for caring for their son and showing him love and kindness.
Several netizens were touched by Alaric’s beautiful story of strength, recovery, and unwavering determination and courage. Here are a few comments that people left for the little boy:
“Awesome love it way to go little guy (sic).”
— (@sarah.scott) February 4, 2021
“How wonderful is this!! Continued prayers for you Alaric!”
— (@chris.kennedy) February 4, 2021
“We are forever in debt to the amazing people who worked with our son Alaric. You guys are 2nd to none.”
— (@dustin.bridgeman) February 4, 2021
“We could not be more grateful to everybody at akron children’s! We met amazing people along the way!!!! My little warrior could have not had better people taking care of him (sic)!!!”
— (@sarah.stewart) February 4, 2021
We hope and pray that this little boy continues to complete all his milestones and inspire the world with his lively spirit. Please keep Alaric in your prayers and share some love for him in the comments section.