Lifestyle & Human Interest

Watch Smile Light Up Face of 5-Year-Old with Cerebral Palsy as He Takes 1st Steps After Surgery


A 5-year-old Louisiana boy with cerebral palsy is walking unassisted for the first time in his life thanks to a life-changing surgery on his legs.

Merick Williams Jr., who goes by MJ, has been working hard since his surgery to learn how to walk all on his own.

The boy’s mother, Kayla Nichols, told WAFB-TV that her son had a tendon releasing surgery approximately two months ago.

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MJ, from St. Helena Parish, has officially taken his first few steps completely unassisted, a milestone event for himself and his family.

“He’s been working so hard,” Nichols said. “It’s been tough on him with the progress, but I make sure he’s going to physical therapy and practicing almost every day at home to get better at walking.”

MJ was born at just 23 weeks gestation and weighed only 1 pound, 4 ounces at birth.

He has had many medical hurdles to overcome in his young life but has shown incredible perseverance, evidenced by a short video of MJ’s first steps posted online by his mother.

“His recovery was a tough process to get through but it was all worth it,” Nichols wrote on Facebook. “We been through a lot to even get to this point, never gave up on him, even when times did get rough and I never will! A true definition of a Miracle Baby!”

“I’m so bless to be your mom and I wouldn’t change it for anything!” Nichols continued. “I’m just sooo proud of him!! Words can’t even explain.”

Nichols and MJ are looking forward to the spring and summer, as MJ plans to join a baseball team and celebrate his sixth birthday over the summer.

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“He’s going to be playing baseball this spring and we couldn’t be more excited for everything he’s doing,” Nichols said.

Right now, MJ is working to overcome his fear of falling while walking on his own, she explained.

“The main goal is to continue to keep weight on his legs and make sure he is very active because if not, his legs will tighten again,” Nichols said.

She reported that her son’s doctors anticipate that MJ, with a bit more practice over time, will become a fully independent walker.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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