RI mom extra thankful daughter with serious birth defect defied medical odds


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Barrington family has a reason to be extra thankful this Thanksgiving.

London, 4, was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.

But just looking at her, you may never know she has a serious medical condition.

Doctor Petra Klinge began working with London’s mom, Crystal Byers, back when she was pregnant. She said she performed London’s surgery at Hasbro Children’s Hospital just hours after she was born.

“I met London on her first day of life,” Klinge said.

With London’s condition, there was no guarantee she would ever be able to walk on her own.

“We went to [physical therapy] and they said, ‘You know what, let’s just give her time and let’s see what happens,'” Byers said.

Byers said she was close to buying a walker for London — until the unthinkable happened.

Two years ago on Thanksgiving, she surprised everyone by taking her first steps — all by herself.

“She literally just got up and walked across the house,” Byers recalled. “We were in shock.”

Now London is always putting her best foot forward. She now plays soccer and does ballet.

“For me, London is an example that it’s fair, even in the grim outlook, to give parents and people hope,” Klinge said.

Byers said she’s amazed her daughter defied the odds and is extremely grateful they never gave up hope.

“It’s really just taking what was given to you and trying to make the best of it, regardless of if she walked or not, my biggest thing was trying,” Byers said.

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