The latest viral video circulating the internet is a real heartstring tugger. In February, 6-month-old Opal Trimble came down with what her parents believed was just a cold. But after a few days, this baby girl from Oklahoma had stopped moving her arms and legs.
She was rushed to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (ACF), a rare, mysterious condition that affects the nervous system, causing sudden weakness and sometimes pain or paralysis in the limbs, Health previously reported. It tends to strike children, with more than 90% of cases in 2018 affecting kids and teenagers.
Opal spent several weeks in The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany, Oklahoma, doing physical and occupational therapy so she could regain the use of her limbs. During that time, Opal’s parents, Josh and Gretchen, took turns visiting her.
One evening, when Josh was saying goodbye to Opal for the day, he clenched his fist and pounded on his chest while standing over Opal’s crib.
Amazingly, Opal mimicked her father’s fist pound without hesitation, which began the sweet greeting between the two—and showed that this little one was slowly recovering and getting stronger.
"That moment of me beating on my chest was actually Opal and I sharing a heartbeat," Josh told Good Morning America. "I was letting her know that even though we may not be there physically together, we share a heartbeat."
"We had just finished some hard days of physical therapy for Opal, and her physical therapist had been trying to get her to reach out for things," Gretchen told GMA. "We were just so encouraged, because the fact that she was mimicking [Josh] told us she knew what she wanted to do and she did it."
Since the Oklahoma Blood Institute shared the video on Facebook last week, the clip has amassed over 20,000 views.
"We had some really dark days in the beginning but early on, even in the darkest, scariest moments, we’ve learned that we always have something to be thankful for," said Gretchen. "When we focused on the small things to be thankful for, that gave us the power and the energy to take the next step."
We're hoping Opal fully recovers…and that she and her dad continue their adorable and meaningful ritual.
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