Whitney Dinkel was thrilled for her 20-week ultrasound appointment. She and her husband Adam counted down the days until they could see their little one's face on the screen again - it was the best time of their lives. But when technicians during the appointment spotted something alarming, their hearts dropped.
Doctors later broke the Earth-shattering news: their unborn son had in utero spina bifida and the prognosis wasn't good. Their son's neural tube hadn't developed correctly, and, because of that, there were significant defects in his spine. The rest of his life would be filled with doctor's appointments, medical tests, and pain. Despite the heartbreaking news, Whitney and Adam took a deep breath and continued on.
They would love this baby no matter what challenges life through their way. Thankfully, their son was tougher than they ever imagined...
From the moment the young couple welcome Roman into the world he was showered with nothing but love and admiration. They entered him in physical therapy, made sure he had as "normal" of a childhood as possible and encouraged him to make friends his age.
However, when Whitney saw her son playing with other children, it was like a blow to her heart. She would sit back and watch as the other children ran around and Roman was stuck in place. Unfortunately, spina bifida made walking too difficult for Roman most days.
While he never complained about the complications associated with his condition, Whitney and Adam could tell not being able to walk took an emotional toll on their boy.
But Roman's life took a huge turn when Whitney thought of something genius. She was tired of watching Roman struggle to move around on his own as other children his age had full mobility. The frustration in Roman's heart was indescribable and it had to end - right now.
In a Facebook post, Whitney shared what idea finally gave her son the freedom he craved.
"So I got a crazy idea last night that Roman needed a pair of forearm crutches. I texted Roman's therapist at like 9:30 pm and told her my thoughts and she agreed it was a great idea! She's so awesome that she brought him a pair over today! She happened to have his exact size in her closet.
We had no idea how he would respond to his new 'sticks,' I figured he'd either love them or absolutely hate them. Well, as soon as he saw them he was in love! He kept saying 'I love my new stick!' and he was super eager to give them a try. I think he was extra excited because of Chrissy from Daniel Tiger, she also uses sticks to walk and he loves Daniel Tiger!
It's obviously going to take some time for him to learn how to use them but I think he's doing a great job for now! It will be so nice to not have to bring his walker everywhere with us, he'll be able to walk on different terrain (like the grass!), and he'll be able to walk in more places!"
Thankfully, Whitney's idea was a smashing success. Now Whitney and Adam can't stop Roman from exploring the house. He's a little tornado of energy that ping-pongs from one corner of their home to the other - and they wouldn't change it for the world. Their boy has overcome so much in his five short years on this Earth, they're not going to stop him now!
If you would like to help Roman and the Spina Bifida of Kansas City organization, please consider visiting the family's GoFundMe page.