Published on August 09, 2022

Iowa girl with Cerebral Palsy defies all expectations 

The 10-year-old has gone from a wheelchair to running in 4 months

Addy Hosette is a fighter, a teller of jokes, and the Genesis Home Runs for Life honoree for September.

Addy was born 12 weeks premature and, at age 3, was diagnosed with the spastic diplegia form of cerebral palsy (CP). Having CP caused her muscles to be stiff, making it harder for her to walk or run normally. 

“Addy’s CP primarily affected the lower half of her body. From a day-to-day standpoint, she would get exhausted walking long distances. She couldn’t do the mile walk or run at school because she would get tired very easily,” her mother, Kelly, said.

The remarkable 10-year-old from Charlotte, Iowa, and her mother travel 45-minutes to Genesis GOPEDS in Bettendorf four days a week. Addy’s intense physical therapy sessions last 45 to 60 minutes, and then the pair drive another 45 minutes back home.

Addy underwent a unique surgery called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy on April 22, 2022, which was designed to mitigate the effects of cerebral palsy on her ability to walk and run.

“They go into the lumbar one vertebra and isolate the dorsal nerves that are not communicating correctly between the brain and the leg muscles. Then they cut the ones that are not firing correctly. During Addy’s surgery, they cut about 80 to a 100 nerve fibers,’ Kelly said.

Addy has been eligible for the surgery for about five years. Still, Kelly wanted to wait until her daughter was old enough to “buy in” to the daunting task of the required physical rehabilitation.

“When she came to GOPEDS in May, she was in a wheelchair and had very minimal movement in her legs. Now she is running and jumping, maybe doing a bit too much, but that’s Addy,” said Kara Housewright, one of Addy’s two Genesis GOPEDS physical therapists.

“She’s doing amazing and is such a hard worker.”

Kelly doesn’t know who picked Kara and Kim as her daughter’s physical therapists, but she is immensely grateful.

“Addy needed someone as her physical therapist who got her and could figure out the way she works to get her to work hard.  Both Kim and Kara understood Addy right from the start. They found the way to push her to do great things,” her mom said.

The blueish late afternoon sunlight spills into the yellow-clad physical therapy room at Genesis GOPEDS in Bettendorf as Kara leads Addy through her paces. The 10-year-old finishes each exercise with a dramatic drop to the floor, feigning exhaustion, only to pop back up ready for more.

It is the expertise and dedication of the Genesis GOPEDS staff and therapists that make the hour-and-a-half round trip of driving, four days a week, worth every second, Kelly said.   

Addy said that the intense therapy sessions have forged a sisterly bond between her and her therapists, Kara and Kim.

“I would love them to be my sisters because they work me harder than I expected. I love it because then it’s a challenge that I can push myself harder than normal,” Addy said.

“It feels great that I can do the things I couldn’t do when I was in a wheelchair, but now I can finally run and catch up with my friends.”

The future looks bright for Addy. She is doing so well that she has shattered the standard post-operative therapy schedule.

“Addy is so far ahead of where she was pre-op. She’s able to stand on one foot, which she couldn’t do before; she’s able to jump on one foot, which she couldn’t do before. Before, she was up on her toes so much that she couldn’t really get her balance right,” Kelly said.

“She’s doing so many amazing things, and it’s awesome to watch. I am so excited to see what comes next.”

If it is up to Addy, what comes next is an epic race. She has set a goal for herself to beat one of her fastest classmates in a sprint.

The smart money is on Addy.

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