Watch This 5-Year-Old With a Brain Condition Walk for the First Time
With everything going on right now, we can all benefit from some good news—and that’s exactly what 5-year-old Camden Hanson from Woodstock, Georgia is bringing to the internet right now.
Camden, who lives with a brain condition that impacts his ability to move, walked for the first time on Saturday, June 13—and it’s a heartwarming sight to behold. His mom, Mandy Hanson, who also has an older son, Parker, 7, shared Camden’s first steps across the living room on Twitter and the video quickly went viral. So far, the video has 7.7 million views, 39,600 retweets, and 415,500 comments.
“Since we all could use a little happiness in our lives these days: My youngest son (age 5) has progressive cerebellar atrophy and is physically handicapped. He also has 10 therapies a week. Today, he finally took independent steps!! #MyHero #NeverGiveUp,” Hanson captioned the video.
Until he was 18 months old, Camden met all his milestones. “That was when we noticed he was very off balance and was trying to walk but had an abnormal gait not typical of a toddler,” Mandy told TODAY Parents. “After pursuing many possibilities for the cause, we then visited a local neurologist who conducted an MRI, and that is where we saw the cerebellar atrophy.”
The cerebellum is the section of the brain responsible for coordinating movements such as posture, balance, coordination and speech. Improper function of the cerebellum can make routine tasks, like speaking, balancing and walking a challenge. Camden started physical, speech and occupational therapy when he was 20 months old. As an older child, he now also does horseback-riding and intensive robotics therapy.
According to MRIs, Camden’s atrophy is getting worse, but doctors still can’t identify the exact cause of the condition. “We’ve been told that even if we eventually identify the genes causing his atrophy, because his condition is so rare, he may be the only one identified in the world with this condition, and he alone will write the future for this disease,” Mandy told the outlet.
Though he’s overcome several challenges already in life, Camden is just like any other 5-year-old boy. He likes video games, “Paw Patrol,” playing with legos and toy cars and dressing up as superheroes.
Mandy never expected her son’s video to go viral, but she’s been touched by the kind comments people have left for Camden. “His smile…I could just feel his pride. You’re a great mama,” one person commented. Another wrote, "What a happy smile on his face after such a great accomplishment for him… Congratulations.”
“Camden has taught us about being patient and compassionate more than anyone or anything ever could. In his short five years, he has undergone dozens of exhaustive and sometimes painful tests yet always smiles through it all,” Mandy told TODAY Parents. “We hope Camden’s story spreads a message of hope and inclusion while serving as inspiration to millions of families around the world who are struggling with the challenges of raising a special needs child.”