National Attention for Local Girl

1 decade 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, January 15 2007 Jan 15, 2007 Monday, January 15, 2007 11:10:00 AM CST January 15, 2007 in News

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" was the first thing Becky Boyles heard come out of her daughter's mouth; she was three years old.

"She's in her car-seat in the back and I was like, 'what is that song?' and she was singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,'" tells Boyles.

Boyles adopted Tori when she was 19 days old.

"She was just this beautiful baby," says Boyles.

But the doctors' diagnosis was grim.

Boyles continues, "I was told, she's never going to walk, she's probably not going to talk, she's going to probably be mentally retarded."

Becky still remained hopeful.

"Even the nurses commented, this baby's going to be okay because it's like she understands everything you say to her," Becky explains.

Tori was born with Spina Bifida, a condition that left her spinal cord looped outside her body. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says doctors don't know the exact cause of Spina Bifida. It is recommended pregnant mothers take folic acid as a way to help prevent it.

There is no cure, and treatment varies from patient to patient, but this disorder isn't bringing Tori down.

"The sky is really the limit. Her disability is not going to get in her way at all, not at all," her mother continues.

Gina Greenplate of Easter Seals says, "She's one of those little girls that truly speaks to what children can achieve, if given the opportunity."

Now she gets to spread her message across the nation as the national representative for Easter Seals, the development center that has given her so much.

"We just believe that with all children, we need to give them the opportunity to achieve to their fullest potential," Greenplate continues. "Those children grow up with Tori, and see Tori as Tori, as a friend, not a child who walks with crutches."

They put her in the same environment as her normal-developing peers, and Becky says even the crutches don't get in her way.

"She can do the important stuff; she knows how to love with her whole heart, and give with her whole soul, she'll be fine. She will absolutely be fine," Becky Boyles says confidently.

"I'm special in my own ways," Tori speaks.

Tori goes to public school and takes part in the Easter Seal's before and after school program. The Easter Seals Center in Columbia serves about 20 percent special needs children.

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