BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Watching your baby take their first step is something all parents look forward to. However, one D'Iberville couple knows that for their little girl, walking won't be possible without major surgery.
That's why they are asking the community to help them raise money to help pay for the medical costs.
Like most toddlers, Little Sophia Nuchereno is full of life and joy, even when meeting someone for the first time. Her sparkling personality and determination have helped Sophia and her parents get through a lot of struggles since she was born 21 months ago.
When Meghan was thirty weeks pregnant doctors noticed that her baby's growth was slow. "We ended up having an emergency C section at 38 weeks. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and all around her body."
After numerous tests, Doctors determined Sophia had suffered a stroke in utero, which led to abnormal growth development and brain bleeds. Meghan says they didn't notice any problems until Sophia was about four months old. "She had developmental delays. She wasn't tracking objects," she recalled.
Soon, doctors discovered vision problems. A surgery to correct a lazy eye led to a staph infection that destroyed the vision in Sophia's right eye. "That was her good eye. We thought she was going to be completely blind, but we noticed she was seeing out of her left eye."
Sophia is dealing with a condition called quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy that prevents her from walking. Meghan says it's sometimes a hopeless feeling. She said, "If I could I'd give her my legs, I would in a heartbeat. Or we would give her our eyes."
While Sophia is learning how to get around in specially designed gait trainer, her parents hope that surgery will allow her to walk independently.
Her dad, Nick, believes that it is their best option. "With the tightness in her legs the only way she'll walk independently is with that surgery, and a lot of rehab afterward...months and even years of rehab," he said.
It will be a difficult and very expensive surgery. Meghan describes, "The surgery she qualifies for is a four hour long neurosurgery. They go in through the back and test each nerve going down to her legs and they'll snip the ones firing abnormally."
Nick and Meghan stay on top of the latest research, doing everything they can to offer their precious girl the best life possible. Nick says, "I want people to know that Sophia is a normal little girl. She does have problems and challenges to overcome, but she's a normal happy baby who's going to have dreams and wishes. And we want to help her achieve those dreams."
Through it all Nick and Meghan have learned to stay positive. Meghan says they simply want the best for their little girl. "We are so thankful. It always could be worse. She has the best little attitude. She's so determined. We set the bar high because we want to try and give her the best quality of life."
If you'd like to learn more about how you can help Sophia... go to "Sophia's Wish to Walk" Facebook page. You can also make a donation by going to www.youcaring.com/sophiaswishtowalk