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Bennett’s Best Day Ever

Four-year-old Bennett Humpherys has a walker at home that his mom says is “gathering dust.” He doesn’t need it, says Cami Humpherys, because he’s walking, something his parents were told was unlikely ever to happen.

Bennett was diagnosed with spina bifida at 20 weeks in utero. Spina bifida happens during fetal development when the neural tube around the spine doesn’t close all the way. The exposed spinal cord can cause nerve and brain damage, resulting in physical and intellectual disabilities, from mild to extensive.

Bennett’s case looked severe at diagnosis, and his parents were cautioned that he could have profound brain damage. Living in Missouri at the time, Cami and her husband Joseph traveled to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a battery of tests. They wanted to know if a high-risk, prenatal surgery could help their baby. Luckily, they were deemed good candidates for the procedure. At 24 weeks gestation, Bennett successfully underwent delicate surgery in the womb to repair the opening in his back. Beautiful Baby Bennett was born ten weeks later in the summer of 2019. The effects of spina bifida were still there, but to a much smaller degree.

The family moved to Rapid City shortly after Bennett’s birth, and he began physical, occupational, and speech therapy with LifeScape therapists through the Birth to Three Program. He also began outpatient therapy at LifeScape, where Cami says it’s Bennett’s “best day ever” to see Physical Therapist Sharon Thompson. To Bennett it’s play, but Sharon is helping him strengthen his muscles and improve his balance to walk better and be more independent.

“I have loved our experience at LifeScape,” says Cami. “Sharon has been so receptive of anything I’ve been concerned with. If I’m noticing anything at home, I talk to her about it and she responds with ideas to address it. It’s very much a collaborative experience.”

Cami says Bennett, the youngest of their five children, is “just the happiest kid ever. He’s super easy going and fun-loving. He doesn’t know anything’s different about him, and he believes he can run and jump. He really can’t, but he’s made leaps and bounds of progress. It’s fantastic.” Now, Bennett is excited to be starting preschool, where he’s just another kid.

LifeScape is helping many children and adults across South Dakota. We are truly unique in the U.S. in our breadth of services to help people with disabilities live their best lives. We hope you’ll join us in providing that help and hope.

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