Star of Parents Magazine’s February Cover

The decision to feature a child using mobility equipment on this month’s cover is a huge first.  Three year-old Emily has spina bifida and in a history-making moment in publishing, is on the cover of the magazine’s February issue.  “They asked what she wanted to listen to, and she said, ‘Lady Gaga,’ so that’s what they played. She was dancing around and pointing to anyone who wasn’t dancing!” That’s how Emily Kiecher’s mom, Liz, described their recent photo shoot at Parents magazine.

Continued Liz, “We told Emily we were going to a photo shoot. I take a lot of pictures of her at home, although we’ve never even had a portrait of her done at J.C. Penney, so I think the meaning was a bit beyond her. She had a great time…Emily rolls in every situation.”

Liz and her husband, Christopher, found out about Emily’s condition four years ago. It was during an 18-week exam that the technician identified a hole in the baby’s spine. A perinatologist later confirmed the assessment for the couple, diagnosing Emily with spina bifida, compelling the need for mobility equipment. Today, her hips are dislocated, though she can walk and run with the support of her walker. She has no surface feeling from the waist down, and she has a shunt in her head to drain fluid from the brain. Emily also receives a variety of weekly therapeutic sessions.

When asked what her hopes are for the Parents cover, Liz responded, “I’m not delusional. I don’t think people will see her on it and think, I’ll never again stare at a kid in a walker. But I hope some people will see she’s just another kid. I hope it starts a discourse, and makes them open to seeing images of kids from all walks of life. And I hope that in the future, when I go to the magazine section, I’ll see three or four more magazines featuring kids from all walks of life!”  Mobility equipment has done much to gap that great divide and Parents magazine should be applauded for their groundbreaking support.

Thank you, Parents, for celebrating Emily and raising the dialogue on important topics such as spina bifida.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Do you need information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

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