October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. The CDC reports that more than 1,600 babies are born with spina bifida each year.
Oliver Hinkley is a 4-year-old boy with spina bifida who's defying the odds.
"We were told to not expect great quality of life, those were the exact words they used," said Brittney Hinkley, Oliver's mother. "But he's far better than what we were told by doctors."
Brittney said spina bifida is like a snowflake, no two cases are the same.
She said Oliver was fortunate to not have any cognitive delays or major health issues, but he was left paralyzed below the knee.
It's a little more difficult for Oliver to get around, but his wheelchair helps.
"He doesn't know any different," Brittney said. "He grew up learning the chair is his. He's so positive with everything, he never looks at the bad."
Oliver's can-do attitude is pushing him to do more each day. He's using a walker, brace and parallel bars to increase his mobility. He also got a modified bike that allows him to use the handles as pedals.
"Even if it's a few steps, he really works so hard to do what he can," Brittney said.
Oliver also started Pre-K in the fall. Brittney said the children and teachers have done a great job of welcoming Oliver.
"They say hi to him, he says hi back," Brittney said. "We're just enjoying him meeting new people and learning, he's learned so much."
Acceptance and progress for the 4-year-old who doesn't see anything he can't overcome.
"Despite all the odds, everybody I meet and everybody that knows him, they just tell me he's such a ball of light," Brittney said.
Brittney said her family welcomes questions from other parents and children who would like to know more about Oliver's condition.
"We're always happy to share because we just want him to be treated like everyone else," Brittney said. "There's no prototype for one child and how they get around."
Oliver's family sells charms that spread awareness for spina bifida. They use the money to cover the cost of his therapy and equipment.
If you'd like to buy a charm, click here.
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