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Local girl gets support from community during Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Harper is just like any other 2-year-old. She likes french fries and bugging her siblings. But Harper has one thing that makes her stand out.

“I took her to (Primary Children’s Hospital) to kind of just get her checked out, and that’s when we find out the diagnosis, which was cerebral palsy,” said Whitney Hovis, Harper’s mother.

It all began when Harper was 4 months old when she had bacterial meningitis. After doctor visits, Hovis noticed something else a year later.

“She was starting to not use the right side of her mouth, not use the right side of her body,” Hovis said.

Since the diagnosis in October 2018, Hovis and her family has been pushing physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and trying to keep Harper active.

“There are some nights when it’s unbearable for her and other nights where you would hardly ever notice that she has it,” Hovis said.

A huge support system for both comes from Hovis’ co-workers.

“Every time she comes in, she’s greeted with a smile. Every time I come in, every morning, they ask, ‘How was your night?’ ‘How’d things go?'” Hovis said.

For Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month in March, Hovis and her co-workers made shirts to support not only Harper but anyone with the diagnosis.

Hovis hopes more people can become aware of the condition and that Harper can inspire others.

“Whether it be something severe or something very, very minor, just be happy,” Hovis said. “She loves anything, and she’s just the happiest kid there is.”

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