Since day one, Abby Faber has been a fighter. Abby was born at 30 weeks, weighing only 1 pound 13 ounces, and she would spend the next 105 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before being able to come home with her parents, Steve and Jennifer Faber, and three older siblings.
Abby came home on oxygen, as she was receiving it the entire time in the NICU, and once home, Abby began physical therapy services as well. She was slow to meet her developmental milestones, but she was meeting them in what her family called "Abby time."
"Early on, we hoped her developmental delays were caused from her prematurity and being so sick her first few weeks of life," said Jennifer. "It was just before her third birthday that Abby was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy."
Abby then started weekly physical therapy at Blank Children's Pediatric Therapy clinic in Ankeny, and two years later, she received selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul, MN. Following the procedure, Abby remained in St. Paul for five weeks for inpatient rehab. Each day, she attended therapy sessions, school and group sessions.
"At the age of five, Abby did an incredible job being away from home," said Jennifer. "Due to her hard work during therapy, Abby was able to come home and take her very first independent steps."
Abby continued her physical therapy at Blank Children's Pediatric Therapy five times per week, working to increase her core strength, improve her gait and independence. Over the course of the year, Abby was able to gradually decrease her therapy sessions to twice a week, and currently, she attends therapy weekly.
"Abby is such an inspiration to us because despite having many challenges and unable to fully grasp why kids younger than her can walk independently and do many things she cannot, she always has a smile on her face," said Jennifer. "She is such a hard worker."
Abby also works hard at her favorite activities. Right now, she plays in the Ankeny Miracle League, and recently, Abby performed in her very first dance recital through Ballet Des Moines: Dance without Limits.
"Her dream is to one day be able to walk independently and keep up with her peers on the playground," said Jennifer. "We're so proud of Abby and how she meets her challenges head on."