Shortly into ballet practice one day Sarah Todd Hammer developed a painful headache, so her mom, Lisa, decided to take her home. When Sarah Todd, who was 8 at the time, struggled to put on her normal clothes in the changing area, she said five anguished words. “Mom, my hands don’t work.”
Sarah Todd was diagnosed at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that can sometimes result in paralysis. Sixteen hours after her initial headache, she was paralyzed from the neck down.
After 12 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Sarah Todd was transferred to the Children’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, where she started building back the strength and function in her arms and legs through a wide variety of exercises and activities.
Sarah Todd spent 38 days in inpatient rehabilitation and was able to walk, although gently, out of the hospital.