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Bentley’s Big Steps




Bentley was born prematurely at 291/2 weeks with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a condition that affects movement in all four limbs of the body.

“Our doctors at that time basically gave us no hope,” his mother, Linda, said. “They thought Bentley would never be independent – he wouldn’t be able to talk ‘normally,’ walk or even feed himself.”

Bentley’s parents researched other health care options for their son, and Bentley became a patient of Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida in 2013, where he has since had two surgeries. In addition, Shriners Healthcare provides Bentley with the equipment he needs to stay on the move: both a manual and a power wheelchair, as well as a pair of ankle-foot orthoses each year to help support him while he grows. Bentley uses his newest devices, hip-knee-ankle-foot orthoses, to help stabilize his legs during physical therapy as he learns to walk.

Bentley took big steps – his first outside of his physical therapy appointments – at the University of South Florida’s Dance Marathon event in Tampa, Florida, earlier this year. After participat­ing in the event the year before from his wheelchair in two full-leg casts, Bentley told his family he was determined to walk across the stage this year. In a packed ballroom of nearly 1,000 people, Bentley did just that. Onlookers cheered, wept and shouted for him as he took the stage alongside his mom for this monu­mental moment.