Taking the First Steps: A Community Success Story

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For many of us, our first steps came before we reached our first birthdays. Learning to trust our bone structure, we built muscle memory for a lifetime of mobility. Could you imagine how different life would be if we weren’t able to take those first steps? For 24-year-old Tranae, this isn’t an imagination exercise; it’s her reality as a woman living with cerebral palsy.

Until recently, Tranae experienced life without the use of her legs. Not only was home challenging as she crawled up and down stairs but, she also endured painful days on the playground sidelines. All she ever dreamed was to walk.

Since age 10, Tranae has been making the three-hour commute from Kayenta, AZ to Flagstaff Medical Center’s Children’s Health Center (CHC) to receive therapy for her condition. The dedicated CHC team has become her extended family, helping build both bodily strength and hope in her big dream. After an elective 13-surgery procedure earlier this year, her visits became more frequent, sometimes three times a week. Time progressed, and finally, Tranae experienced a miracle, her first steps.

With the intention of supporting Tranae’s continued progress, the CHC team worked for over a year to obtain a gait trainer (an expensive piece of specialized equipment) for therapy at home. Contributions from Foundation donors and grantors finally made it happen. Now Tranae is walking a mile a day. She even crossed her first finish line at the past Machine Solutions Run (MSR)—her way of saying, “Thank you,” to everyone who invested in her goal. Without the community’s support, she wouldn’t have been able to afford the $3,500 for the trainer.

The Foundation extends a warm heart of gratitude to MSR participants, the Kevin Tidwell Foundation, and Northern Arizona Healthcare employees for improving the quality of life for children in our region. Together, you made this a community success story.

To learn about how you may help patients of the Children’s Health Center, please contact Matthew Brasmer, Vice President of Development, by email: matthew.brasmer@nahealth.com, or by telephone: 928.213.6538. To learn more about Tranae’s journey and see her cross the finish line, watch the video below.

Sandra KowalskiComment