Alaric Bridgeman suffered from a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to his spinal cord, according to Akron Children's Hospital

By Joelle Goldstein
February 10, 2021 07:56 PM
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A 2-year-old boy had an enormous support system by his side as he took his first steps since becoming paralyzed.

Alaric Bridgeman couldn't hold back his smile on Thursday after successfully walking down the hallway of Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio.

The emotional moment, which was captured on video by the hospital and airs on Wednesday's episode of PEOPLE (The TV Show!), showed Alaric crossing the finish line as staffers, friends and family — sweetly referred to as Alaric's Army — cheered him on.

"It was a very exciting day to send Alaric home and see all the incredible progress he has made!" Akron Children's Hospital wrote in their Instagram post.

According to the hospital, Alaric started suffering from a rare inflammatory disease called transverse myelitis at the beginning of December.

The disease — which causes inflammation and injury to the spinal cord, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke — ultimately paralyzed the 2-year-old completely, the hospital said.

After being admitted to the hospital, staffers started working with Alaric, and by Dec. 20, "he finally displayed some intentional movement," the post read.

"The hard work started there," the hospital noted.

Over the next few months, a "small but mighty" Alaric tirelessly worked with physical therapists twice a day to regain his movement, according to the post.

Alaric also worked with his dad Dustin Bridgeman and would take long walks with him through the hospital, where they would often befriend "everyone they passed," the post stated.

Finally, last week, Alaric's efforts paid off. In order to celebrate, the hospital set up a mini "road" on the hallway floor and hung a finish line with flags and a banner that read "I did it!"

As he made his way out of the hospital to return home, Alaric took his first steps using his walker and joyfully passed the finish line.

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After crossing the banner, he fell into the arms of one of his physical therapists, who greeted him with a big hug.

Along with his large support system at the hospital, many Instagram users celebrated Alaric's accomplishment in the comments section of the Instagram post.

"Alright, way to go little man. Keep up the good work," wrote one person.

"So heartwarming. Congrats 🎈," someone else commented.

"If you can watch this and not smile, seek professional help!" joked another user.

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