Miracle Moment: little boy takes first steps at 4 years old

Reporter: Amanda Hall Writer: Elyssa Morataya

A little boy finally takes his first steps at four years old.

Nothing holds Landon back, especially not cerebral palsy.

Landon has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that makes it hard for him to walk. It’s a life-long complication after Landon was born severely premature.

“Landon was born when I was 24 weeks pregnant,” said Lauren Ringeisen, Landon’s mother.

Landon was just 1 pound 12 ounces at birth. Doctors only gave him a 30% chance of survival.

“Being able to see him for the first time. It was just, it was beautiful. But it was kind of scary at the same time because he was this big. He was tiny. Brandon’s wedding ring could fit around his wrist,” said Lauren.

It’s fitting that the family has really leaned into the superhero theme. Landon has fought heroically his entire life.

He spent 137 days in the neonatal intensive care unit and survived 12 surgeries before the age of 3.

His 13th surgery last year wasn’t to save London’s life but to give him a better shot at life.

“I just want him to be independent and never lose that spark and joy in his life,” said Brandon Ringeisen, Landon’s father.

“Would he resent us for not giving him the chance? For not giving him the chance to potentially walk? This is for his future,” said Lauren.

Focused on his future, Lauren and Brandon gave Doctor Hassan Akbari at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital the go-ahead to do what’s called a selective dorsal rhizotomy.

“Where the spinal cord ends, that’s where it kind of sends all of the nerve roots down like spaghetti and water to the legs to give the sensory information,” said Akbari. “Then we cut 66% of each of the sensory nerve roots.”

Landon had a selective dorsal rhizotomy or SDR for spastic diplegia cerebral palsy on May 9, 2023.  He was about to turn 4 at the time of his surgery.

After the surgery, it was Landon’s turn to put in the work.

Landon, his parents and his one-month-old baby brother Liam moved to Tampa for six weeks of intense physical therapy with no days off.

“It’s the best decision we ever made, though. I mean, look at him,” said Lauren.

Landon had gleeful, unassisted first steps not even a year after surgery.

This lasted just a few seconds, but for the family, it was momentous.

Now, Landon continues therapy at home in Port Charlotte.

Next is the transition from a walker to forearm crutches while keeping that superhero fighting spirit and that smile.

“He puts a smile on everyone’s face. He makes me a better person. I get teary-eyed about him, but he’s awesome. So here’s our miracle for sure,” Lauren said.

Landon has surpassed even his surgeon’s expectations.

He’s pleased with Landon’s progress, and he said his young age helps, as he hasn’t developed his adult gait yet.

Landon’s family has set up a foundation to raise money for continued intensive physical therapy not covered by insurance called “Walking with Landon.” They’ve also helped three other families.

Landon will start kindergarten in August, and he’ll have another baby brother due in November.

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