A typical toddler would spend their day ambling around, precariously toddling from various pieces of furniture to the safety of their parents’ outstretched arms.
Kate Gulo, from Illinois, US was not different. The adorable little girl learned how to walk right before she turned two and would run, jump and dance everywhere her tiny little feet would take her.
But after six months of being a jolly little tot, her parents, Teresa and Kenny Gulo, noticed that she was a bit wobbly on her feet.
"We started to notice that she couldn't walk in a straight line anymore and her gait got a lot wider,” Teresa told the the Daily Mail.
Teresa brought up her little girl’s walking difficulties at Kate’s 18-month check-up. The paediatrician attributed it to an ear infection – but over the next three months, the girl's condition spiraled out of control.
By January 2017, the little one was falling up to 10 times a day in only five minutes. If she was out running errands with her parents, she would fall up to 100 times a day.
"We started keeping her from walking, Teresa told the Daily Mail. “We would sit her on the couch and give her her iPad because we didn't want her to get hurt."
Kate’s hands then slowly started shaking and her eyelids would flutter.
That’s when her worried parents rushed her to the hospital where she was immediately admitted to the emergency centre.
After numerous brain scans, doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago diagnosed Kate with Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS), a rare neurological disorder which affects only one in a 1 000 000 people a year.
It is not yet known what caused her condition.
According to rarediseases.org, the onset of OMS is usually abrupt, often severe, and it can become chronic. It usually manifests in children, but it has been known to affect adults too.
After diagnosis, doctors were able to start Kate on a course of chemotherapy and steroids.
Astoundingly, Kate who was struggling to walk properly for four months, was able to take her first steps – just a few days after her treatment.
Teresa, who gave up her career as a teacher to look after her daughter, couldn’t hold back her tears when she saw Kate walking again.
Since February, Kate has been undergoing aggressive immunosuppression treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Every week, the youngster spends hours in physical and occupational therapy. She also has steroid infusions “to help stop the attack of the disease on her brain and give her immune system a chance to reboot itself”, the hospital explained in a Facebook post.
Kate’s dad Kenny said on Facebook his daughter’s future is still uncertain.
“Because this disease is so rare there is a lot that is unknown. She’s responded well to the steroid infusions and therapy but we don’t know yet if her actual immune system has healed or it’s just the steroid treatment keeping her OMS at bay.”