Miracle Kids: Horse therapy helps 10-year-old boy gain his stride

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Gavin McCain is a fun loving 10-year-old boy. But his life is far from normal.

When he was born he spent three weeks in the NICU at Mercy Children's Hospital. He suffered a bleed on his brain which lead to his lengthy stay.

Gavin has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and alternating hemiplegia of childhood.

"He cannot be left alone, there has to be me and my husband with eyes on him, because his balancing gate is still off." Says Gavin's mother
Monica McCain,

Since birth, Gavin has been involved in physical therapy, speech therapy and occupation therapy through Mercy Children's Hospital.

In particular, Gavin has a great love for Hippotherapy.

Gavin was 15 months old when he crawled for the first time. But after starting Hippotherapy six years ago, his muscle tone and strength significantly improved. With the help from physical therapy, he began to walk shortly before his third birthday.

"Just speaking to the power of this, it got him passed not walking," said Tracey Lewis, Physical Therapist with Mercy Children's Hospital. "It gave his body the strength and balance that he just wasn't able to get in another way."

Gavin's mother Monica says she had a pretty typical pregnancy.

She was diagnosed with high blood pressure during her pregnancy and placed on medication. There were no other complications and all other tests were normal throughout the pregnancy.

Monica's delivery was very long, difficult and had some complications.

Gavin had several moments of fetal heart decelerations, and a monitor was placed on his head during the labor to monitor him. The main problem was that Monica was not dilating, and he was in distress.

"It was a lot of fear at first," said Tyrone McCain, Gavin's father. "I'm a man of faith, so I prayed about it at first. And it was a struggle with me, because I had never experienced someone with special needs. And then to have my first child, a child with special needs, I can actually say it made me a better parent."

Gavin had seizures repeatedly over the first year of his life, numerous hospital stays along with trial and error of many medications.

The family relies on their strong faith to get them through each day. And they say physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and hippotherapy have worked wonders in his life.

Gavin currently gets around in a wheelchair because he tires easily. Despite his delays, he is a happy and awesome little boy. He enjoys puzzles, singing,
dancing and playing on his iPad. He has a great sense of humor and loves to make others laugh. His favorite color is yellow, and he loves Olaf and Elmo.

"Gavin has been such a big difference to our family," said Gavin's younger brother Caleb. "With our new baby brother around, me and Gavin are really busy. But Gavin helps keep our family close together."

The McCain family is grateful to Mercy Children's Hospital for the care Gavin has received throughout the course of his life and many hospital stays.

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