Before she even gave birth to her daughter, Aubrey, Chelsea Garcia knew the little girl would face many more challenges than her sisters.
The mom-of-three from Plainville, Kansas, was five months pregnant when Aubrey was diagnosed with spina bifida, a birth defect that stops a baby’s spinal cord from developing properly. Aubrey underwent surgery just a day after she was born to correct a spinal defect, but her condition has still made a huge impact on her life.
The little girl has been wearing orthotics on her feet and ankles since she was only a few months old, as she doesn’t have any feeling from the knees down. While this has made learning to walk very tricky, it hasn’t stopped Aubrey from trying. She just got more creative, teaching herself to use her hip and thigh muscles in therapy.
With all that hard work, Aubrey was walking on her own at six years old.
“Sometimes I’ll suggest using a walker to get around if we’re going to Walmart or a big store like that, but she refuses,” Chelsea said. “She wants to do it all on her own.”
Still, the stubborn girl wasn’t quite satisfied. Aubrey wanted to be just like her older sisters, who both run track. Once she set her mind to it, she practiced for months, running across the field during their track meets. She was determined to meet her goal of completing her town’s annual “Little Cardinal” track meet for kids.
And when the big race finally rolled around, the seven-year-old didn’t disappoint. Chelsea stood on the sidelines, cheering and recording as Aubrey ran the 50-meter race.
“She knew she would not win, but it didn’t stop her from trying,” the proud mom wrote on Facebook. Speed wasn’t important to Aubrey; all she cared about was crossing the finish line, however long it took.
Chelsea says she started to lose it when she saw Aubrey stumble just before finishing. But the crowd’s reaction brought her to tears.
“She started to stumble, and that is when the crowd REALLY comes in to cheer her on. With tears streaming down my face, I watched her fall into her daddy’s arms… She FINISHED that race,” Chelsea said, adding that Aubrey’s “smile just wouldn’t stop!”
Aubrey is living proof that we can do anything if we want it badly enough. There’s no doubt this headstrong girl is destined for greatness, spina bifida or not!
Watch as Aubrey races to victory in the clip below, and share to inspire others to follow their dreams.
So I’ve been trying to come up with the right words for a few hours now, but I can’t seem to think of how to express the happiness I felt today.. First off, Lillian and Natalie did awesome at the track meet today bringing home all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons. But Aubrey…. Oh, our sweet Aubrey.. This child, as many of you know, has never had things easy. Many of you also know that it has never broken her spirit!! Today, Aubrey competed in her first track meet. She did amazing in softball throw, especially for her first time! But then, this little girl also wanted to run. This momma can not fathom the words to thank this little town for their support of her! I’ve attached a video of her running the 50 yard dash. She knew she would not win, but it didn’t stop her from trying. Make sure you listen clear until the end.. She started to stumble, and that is when the crowd REALLY comes in to cheer her on. With tears streaming down my face, I watched her fall into her daddy’s arms.. She FINISHED that race. And thank you to ALL of the people that congratulated her after the race.. Her smile just wouldn’t stop! I can’t ever explain the joy I feel watching my children give it their all.. But today… Today was one for the books!ADDITION: This post has gotten so much attention that we can’t help but feel so humbled!! Just a small backstory for those that do not know Aubrey. She is 7 years old and has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (a buildup of cerebral spinal fluid on her brain). She was diagnosed prior to her birth and had surgery 24 hours after delivery to repair her spinal defect and place a shunt to drain the extra cerebral spinal fluid into her abdomen. She has worn some sort orthotic on her ankles/feet since she was 3 months old. She is unable to feel anything from her knees down, which means she has had to teach herself to walk by using her hips and thigh muscles. The first time she was able to be upright, was in a mobile prone stander. It belted her upright and allowed her to move herself by way of wheelchair wheels. We then progressed into a forward facing walker. Before long, she switched to a rear facing walker. When she was four and a half she began using forearm crutches, which then turned into her using no kind of assistance for walking. This has been a long, but rewarding journey. Every step of the way has been so amazing for our entire family. To watch her sisters rejoice in her triumphs is indescribable. We have an amazing support system and so many people that care for her! Thank you to everyone that has watched, commented, or shared this video! I love hearing how she has inspired so many people, because she inspires me, her father, and her sisters EVERY DAY!
Posted by Chelsea L Garcia on Tuesday, May 14, 2019
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