New harness may help Maryville child with seizure disorder walk

New harness may help Maryville child with seizure disorder walk

Posted:
A rare seizure disorder has affected Evan's development in a big way. He must be bottle fed and doesn't speak, but after brain surgery he is doing better. A rare seizure disorder has affected Evan's development in a big way. He must be bottle fed and doesn't speak, but after brain surgery he is doing better.
Shannon Hepp of Maryville is hoping it will help her 6-year-old son Evan. Shannon Hepp of Maryville is hoping it will help her 6-year-old son Evan.
The Firefly Upsee Harness is helping thousands of children take steps when they never could before. The Firefly Upsee Harness is helping thousands of children take steps when they never could before.
By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - A Facebook post recently caught the attention of a local mom. It was about a special harness that helped a child with cerebral palsy actually walk for the first time.

The new device is now giving hope to parents in East Tennessee.

It all started when touching photos circulated on social media, showing a child who was able to be a flower girl at a wedding due to the Firefly Upsee Harness.

The breakthrough device is helping thousands of children take steps when they never could before.

Shannon Hepp of Maryville is hoping it will help her 6-year-old son Evan. A rare seizure disorder has affected his development in a big way. He must be bottle fed and doesn't speak, but after brain surgery he is doing better. Shannon is encouraged.

"He went from having multiple seizures a day to - he has one now every seven to 10 days, " Shannon explained.

Evan goes to a special school where he uses a wheelchair and what's called a "gait trainer," but at home, Shannon either carries him or uses a stroller.

She wanted more options for her son to help him be as mobile as possible. That's where the new harness made by Firefly Upsee comes in.

Shannon first learned about it on Facebook.

"Somebody posted it on my page and said this would really be cool for Evan," she says.

The harness allows children to stand upright, attached to their parents by straps, with their feet fastened into rubber shoes. As the parent walks, the child is able to move along with them.

So when the harness, made in Northern Ireland, became available for sale on April 8, Shannon ordered it online immediately.

It's so popular she's been told to wait 12 weeks for it to arrive.

She's hoping the harness will help her son learn to walk and maybe even dance right next to her.

"Our goal,"Shannon says, "is to get him, to work with him and get him doing as much as he can."

At just under $500, the device is much more affordable than some of the other special needs equipment out there that can cost thousands.

We will be sure to pay another visit to Evan and his family in the next few months to see how the harness is working.
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