East Bay Girl With Polio-Like Disease to Go Home After Months of Recovery

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A 10-year-old East Bay girl who was paralyzed after contracting a virus is going home after months of recovery.

Her symptoms started out as the common cold before she lost control of her arms and legs.

Samantha Winters told NBC Bay Area about a month ago that her goal was to walk out of Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland and she’s now making good on that promise.

“For me this is the furthest she’s walked,” said her mother Tisha Winters.  “She is able to walk with her walker we’re able to walk a little bit with her gate belt the last time a saw you she was barely able to move her left leg.”

Samantha suffers from Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM). A rare but serious condition that brings on polio-like symptoms of weakness in the arms and legs. The virus comes on like a common cold. 

An East Bay mom is warning parents about a rare disease that landed her daughter in a wheelchair. Cheryl Hurd reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 607 confirmed cases since the agency began tracking it in 2014. There were 37 cases reported just last year, 12 of those in California.

“The only cure is therapy and you start off slow,” said Samantha.

Her road to recovery started in November when she collapsed and couldn’t walk. Luckily her diagnosis came quickly. 

“When I was in therapy, I would look at other kids and they would transfer by themselves I’d look at them and say, ‘man I can’t wait till I can do that,’” she said.

Samantha is now doing that and more. She keeps track of the days she’s been in the hospital and she’s even able to walk without a walker in her room.  For her mom, her biggest cheer leader, her recovery is close to a miracle.

“Life can change unexpectedly you read about stuff you never think is going to happen to you and it did,” said Tisha.

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