ORLANDO, Fla. – At just 3 years old, a spunky Florida girl is showing how to keep moving forward despite a curve ball thrown her way before she was even born.
Harper Mae has already undergone 10 surgeries for spina bifida, and despite her struggle, she’s still enjoying life.
“She is just full of so much spunk and energy,” said Erica Comparin, Harper’s mom. “She has never let anything slow her down, and she’s always been just so bright-spirited with everything that she’s encountered.”
When Comparin was 18 weeks pregnant, Harper was diagnosed with spina bifida, a condition that occurs when the spinal cord fails to develop properly, leaving the back open and nerves exposed.
“You can never say whether or not it’ll progress, whether or not it’ll stay the same. It really is just dependent on the individual,” Comparin said.
In Harper’s case, her mom said there was a chance she wouldn’t be able to walk. But Harper has defied the odds.
“We watch her just forget about whether she can do it or not,” said Fred Comparin, Harper’s dad.
The family feels their regular visits to see Mickey and Minnie at Disney World have also contributed to Harper’s physical therapy.
“We’ve watched her ability go from really not being able to walk great to she will leave the walker behind her sometimes and she’ll just start going,” Fred Comparin said.
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After a week full of medical appts, 7 to be exact, this little cutie got some much deserved time at the hippy dippy pool at @popcenturyresortorlando. 🏊♀️ 👙🥰. Thank you @monica.inspirelytravel for helping make this a perfect weekend. . . . Thank you for 🥰 and following Harper on her adventures at Disney World, and as she continues to make incredible strides in her journey with Spina Bifida. ✨🌈✨ We’d love ❤️ for those not following Harper yet to join us on all of her adventures as nothing is going to hold this princess back as she cruises down Main Street. 🏰 🎠🚝🌟🍭 . . . #spinabifida #spinabeautiful #awareness #popcenturyresort #swimmingpool #swimmer #hippydipy #disney #disneyig #waltdisneyworld #disneyworld #milleniumfalcon #starwars #magicalmoments #livingourbestlife #daisy #growingupwithharpermae #blessed #littlefierceones #instakids #livingthedream #disneyprincess #princessinthemaking #hydrocephalus #chiarimalformation #instadisney @waltdisneyworld #wdw @wdw.ambassador #futurewdwambassador @slatemodels #model @targetstyle
And sometimes, she’ll even go at the speed of a falcon, the name of her favorite walker she uses to stroll around Disney World.
“It’s been amazing to watch her. We had said earlier, ‘You know, it’s probably around 15,000 steps or something that she takes,’” her father said.
Fred is a big “Star Wars” fan who designs his daughter’s walkers with a special Disney force. Aside from the Falcon-themed walker he made for Harper, he also designed one with the Death Star super laser, a moon-sized station seen in “Star Wars IV.” He also designed another walker to resemble the Atat walker.
“This was the original one that was more of a play on the whole, you know, walker name. It really became a labor of love,” Fred Comparin said.
The St. Petersburg family said they’re sharing their story with hopes to uplift anyone who is going through a rough patch.
“It’s a great way to show people there’s just so much life that we have and so much joy that even on those bad days, there’s always something good and positive,” Erica said.