After a paralyzing accident, this mom is learning to walk again—alongside her toddler


After sustaining serious injuries in a fall, one Ohio mom is learning to walk again alongside her toddler. Leah Weiher of Galloway, Ohio told Good Morning America about the accident that paralyzed her from the waist down, which happened when her daughter Laken, now 1, was just 10 months old.

She was climbing onto a tree stand when she stumbled and fell 15 feet to the ground, landing on the crossbow she’d been carrying. The 24-year-old says she immediately felt her body go numb.

“I just started going numb from my feet and up and it just kept coming up and up, and I was like, ‘Am I just dying? Like am I going to go completely numb everywhere and just stop breathing?,’” Weiher said. “I knew if [I was] not dying, that I was severely injured because I’d never felt anything even close to that before.”

Doctors determined Weiher had fractured her L2 vertebra, located in the lumbar spine (aka lower back), and she required a seven-hour surgery with the hope of regaining her mobility after a lengthy hospital stay and intensive rehabilitation. Being able to wiggle one of her toes at the hospital gave her hope, but she says “it was still up in the air” whether she’d walk again.

“Even all the therapists there told me, ‘You could completely stop progress-wise where you are now, or you can completely progress and walk in the next year,’” she recalls. “So, no one could really tell me anything. I didn’t know. It was just hope.”

Weiher says that throughout her recovery, “Laken has been my motivation. She’s been my reason. Probably the second hardest thing about this whole entire thing was me feeling like I couldn’t be a mom anymore, like I was not doing my best at it, or I was letting her down in any way.”

Now, the duo is learning to walk together, having both taken their first steps in early March. They’re both getting stronger by the day, she says. “At that point, I could stand up and barely put one foot in front of the other really, really slow, and just take a couple of steps,” Weiher says. “I’ve gotten a lot better now and can go a lot further now, and so can she. She’s everywhere now, running around.”

“But it was amazing, just sharing that experience together,” she adds.

Weiher’s care team is floored by her strength, crediting her with continued work together and on her own at home with her progress. Casey Perch, a neurological physical therapist who works with Weiher at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Neurologic Rehabilitation center, says the proud mom is further along than anyone expected. “She has just blown away all my initial goals of where she should be by now,” Perch says. “The first time we walked, she walked two feet. Two months later, we walked for six minutes continuously with no assisted device.”

“Not a lot of mothers can say that they learned to walk at the same time as their child, so it’s very special,” she says. “It’s a good thing out of a bad situation.”





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