Central Texas girl never expected to walk takes first steps at age 5

Addie Wolfe with Elite Therapy Center therapist Stephanie Aldridge. (Courtesy photo)
Addie Wolfe with Elite Therapy Center therapist Stephanie Aldridge. (Courtesy photo)(KWTX)
Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 5:37 PM CDT
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A 5-year-old Central Texas girl whose family was told she’d never leave the hospital after she was born with significant chromosomal abnormalities, which left her facing a long list of daily struggles, took her first steps this week.

Addie Wolfe was born with sacrococcygeal teratoma, an unusual tumor situated at the base of the tailbone.

The tumor was discovered in utero but her mother, Stephanie and father Mathew, a Midway High School graduate, had no idea of the impact it would have.

The girl is non-verbal, blind and deaf and has epilepsy and lower muscle tone and respiratory issues that require her to use a tracheal tube and ventilator.

Her family was told she’d never walk but this week, shortly after turning 5, she defied the odds.

“Oh my goodness it brought tears to my eyes. I just couldn’t believe it,” Stephanie Wolfe said.

“We had doctors tell us she would never walk and to actually see her do that it was incredible. I don’t even have words for it.”

Addie began home therapy as an infant with Elite Therapy Center in Waco after she finally came home from the hospital and just recently graduated to therapy at the center.

This week the determined 5-year-old took her first steps with the assistance of her walker at the center to the cheers of her family and biggest supporters including her longtime therapist Stephanie Aldridge.

“It’s crazy how far we’ve come,” Aldridge said.

“When she first started she was fresh out of the hospital and our goals were super simple, like she’ll tolerate sitting for 10 seconds. She couldn’t tolerate movement, much less do it herself, so to see her now reaching and grasping and trying to walk on her own. It’s amazing. “

Aldridge says Addie and her family, who have worked hard through therapy sessions, typically two times a week and 45 minutes at a time, deserve all the credit for Addie reaching a milestone that seemed medically impossible.

“I mean she has so many things that are fighting against her and yet she pushes through,” she said. “We are where we are because she’s a hard worker.”

Addie’s mom says her daughter’s first steps are just the beginning.

“Honestly the sky is the limit. I don’t think there is anything that she can’t do. I would love to see her continue to learn how to walk and be more independent and see where we go from there.”