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  • 7 Years Old

  • Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, Epilepsy

In 2015, Crystal gave birth to twins Peyton and Taylor at 26 weeks. Both only weighed a little over a pound a piece! Taylor had a brain bleed and Peyton suffered bilateral brain bleeds grade 3 and 4. After both came down with hydrocephalus, the girls got a VP shunt to help drain extra cerebrospinal fluid from the brain. All of this resulted in 3 months in the NICU! For the first year of their lives afterward, all seemed normal until they noticed Peyton was ignoring her right hand. They soon began early interventions and before long Peyton was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, affecting the right side of her body. She worked super hard in therapies and was able to take her first steps at 3 years old! Since then, Peyton began having seizures and now has the diagnosis of focal epilepsy as well.

Despite everything she has gone through, she is the sweetest, happiest girl!

Despite everything she has gone through, she is the sweetest, happiest girl! In June of 2022 she underwent a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This surgery was intended to relieve some of her symptoms of cerebral palsy and hopefully help her stay mobile and gain more skills. Peyton spent 30 days in the rehab facility at the hospital, working through intensive physical therapy. Even though this surgery requires a lot out of Peyton for the first year post-op, she has stayed so joyful and determined! Her hard work of relearning how to walk again paid off when she took her first independent steps again a week before Halloween. She attends intensive physical therapy 5 days a week and is making great strides towards a full recovery! She is truly my hero,” – Peyton’s mom, Crystal.

Photography by Carrie Birchfield