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Mom Learns to Walk Again Alongside Her Toddler After Accident

After a fall left Leah Weiher paralyzed from the waist down, she began the long journey of taking her first steps again, this time alongside her 1-year-old. See her inspiring story here.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published April 5, 2024

Baby’s first steps serve as a big milestone for a reason. Learning to walk isn’t easy. After weeks of crawling and falling, those first steps feel like a huge accomplishment born out of determination. While every parent does their best to support their child on this journey, Leah Weiher had the unique experience of learning to walk step by step alongside her 1-year-old daughter, Laken.

An Ohio mother and avid hunter, Weiher suffered a fall from a tree stand in November 2023 that left her paralyzed from the waist down with a slim chance of being able to walk again. But now, as Laken works to take her first steps, Weiher is working toward the same goal. “Not a lot of mothers can say that they learned to walk at the same time as their child, so it’s very special,” she told Good Morning America. “It’s a good thing out of a bad situation.”

Weiher, who was discharged from the hospital in a wheelchair, admits that adjusting to her new mobility limits and navigating what she could and couldn’t do as a parent has been hard. “Laken has been my motivation. She’s been my reason,” Weiher said. “Probably the second hardest thing about this whole entire thing was me feeling like I couldn’t be a mom anymore, like I was not doing my best at it, or I was letting her down in any way.”

After attending outpatient therapy and learning to stand on her own, Weiher says she was inspired to continue her treatment to learn how to walk to keep up with Laken. By the time Laken took her own first steps in early March, Weiher began walking again too.

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“At that point, I could stand up and barely put one foot in front of the other really, really slow, and just take a couple of steps,” Weiher said. “I’ve gotten a lot better now and can go a lot further now, and so can she. She’s everywhere now, running around.” Weiher’s doctors are astounded by her progress that’s quickly outpaced their highest expectations.

“She has just blown away all my initial goals of where she should be by now,” Weiher’s neurological physical therapist, Casey Perch said. “The first time we walked, she walked two feet. Two months later, we walked for six minutes continuously with no assisted device.”

Weiher still has room for improvement, just like Laken, in her journey and plans to attend weekly therapy sessions to grow stronger and stronger. “I’m not really sure if I would have worked as hard if I didn’t have [Laken],” she said. “There were more bad days than good I would say, in the very beginning, and she’s the only thing that I could think of when I didn’t want to get up or I just didn’t want to do anything, and I had to.”

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