Girl with spinal injury heading home after Mary Free Bed graduation

Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 11:49:08-04

GRAND RAPIDS,Mich -- A big graduation at Mary Free Bed today for a little girl from Saginaw County.

She’s been recovering in the rehab hospital since July after breaking her neck. Now, the Baird Family is happy to be heading home.

Paige’s Mom, Sarah Baird said they didn’t know how their 8-year-old would be walking out of their on her own.

Paige took a bad fall off a deck this summer, breaking her neck, and bruising her spinal cord.

Sarah recalled trying to stay calm in the moments after the accident.

“Don’t panic, don’t panic, because I knew it was pretty bad.”

Paige wasn’t able to breathe for several minutes and couldn’t move. She was later airlifted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Sarah Baird said, “Doctors couldn’t tell us that what was to come, we just wanted to know if she was going to be okay, and they couldn’t tell us that. Obviously they didn’t know how much of a fighter she was at that point.”

Paige underwent emergency surgery and is now fitted with this “Halo” device to protect her neck.

Paige said, “Luckily I was asleep so I didn’t have to see all of it, but I think that was the scariest part, and seeing myself, because there were holes in my forehead.”

She wasn’t scared for long though, knowing just how much work she had ahead of her.

Dr. Andrea Kuldanek, the Medical Director of Mary Free Bed’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Program said Paige could only move one hand when she first came to them.

“She had considerable weakness in all four limbs, little to no movement in the right arm, some movement in the left arm and in both legs. She was unable to sit on her own, nowhere near ready to stand and walk.”

Dr. Kuldanek adds that Paige’s family has been a huge part of her healing.

“They provided her excellent emotional support, we couldn’t ask for a better family to have a successful rehab outcome.”

Paige, recovering a little quicker than most, blowing away expectations.

There’s one moment in particular that stands out as a huge breakthrough with one of her therapists.

She said, “I walked from one hallway to the other side and Star said ‘Okay you can stop for now’ and I said ‘I can’t, I don’t know how.’ I didn’t know how to stop.”

Paige said she’s looking forward to going back to school and playing with her sister and friends, but she’s especially excited to play with their family dog “Diesel.”

Paige is expected to have her halo removed in October.