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Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer

Toddler With ‘Irreversible Brain Damage’ Stands for the First Time

See the heartwarming photo of Real Housewife Meghan King Edmonds’ 14-month-old standing for the first time after intense therapy.
PUBLISHED ON 08/28/2019

Back in July, Real Housewives of Orange County alum Meghan King Edmonds shared on her blog that her son Hart has been diagnosed with a type of “irreversible brain damage” called Periventricular Leukomalacia, or PVL. The condition affects his control of muscle movements in his legs and arms and puts him at risk for Cerebral Palsy and other developmental delays. She wrote that there were challenges ahead but vowed to take them on. Yesterday, she was finally able to share Hart’s incredible progress: At 14 months old, he stood on his own for the first time.

“Hart stood today for the first time!” she wrote in an Instagram post. “And I’m not talking for a half second, he stood for almost a whole minute!”

The accompanying slideshow features a photo of Hart, in which he is indeed standing tall (finger in his mouth like every toddler everywhere) next to a beaming King Edmonds. There’s also a video of everyone in the room cheering Hart on as he looks around before deciding to sit down next to his mom.

King Edmonds revealed that Hart is only a week into intensive therapy at Neurological and Physical Abilitation (NAPA) Center, which offers “diverse and innovative therapies” for children and has locations in Los Angeles, Boston and Sydney. She said both his physical therapist and occupational therapist were present for the major moment, though it didn’t happen during a therapy session—Hart did it on his own.

“Only a week into intensive therapy @napacenter and this boy’s development is exploding! (And so is my heart!)” King Edmonds’ continued in the caption. “What a special and incredible moment!”

PVL is usually associated with preemies, but in her original blog post King Edmonds explained Hart didn’t fall into that category, since he was born at 37 weeks gestation. According to their doctors, the damage to Hart’s brain “somehow occurred a couple months before he was born.” Earlier this month, King Edmonds revealed she and Hart were planning to be at NAPA for three weeks of intensive therapy.

In July, she shared that Hart had been spending time in a hyperbaric compressed oxygen chamber four times per week and had already seen progress from that, though she admitted she wasn’t sure whether the results were a direct result of the therapy, a natural side effect of Hart getting older and having more control over his body, or something else.

“Four times a week either Jimmy or I ‘dive’ with Hart in a hyperbaric compressed oxygen chamber,” she wrote at the time. “After 5 dives we are already seeing progress: lifting his left leg on stairs when his right is restrained, bear crawling (perhaps trying to stand?), more willingly taking steps with assistance, and cruising from the couch to the coffee table. Is it because of this alternative therapy, is it because he’s just getting older, is it because of PT, or is it because of his 3x/weekly chiropractor visits? Who knows, but it’s not hurting! Go Hart, go!”

King Edmonds’ nearly one million followers were more than happy to celebrate Hart’s latest milestone of standing on his own. “Your happiness in this pic is priceless,” one person wrote under the latest picture taken at NAPA Center.

“I’m so invested in his story,” another person commented. “This is so amazing I want to cry.”

“So happy for you and Hart,” a third person said. “Keep the faith. I know I don’t know you, but I’m sending angels your way.”

PHOTO: iStock