Little girl overcomes rare genetic disease to walk and talk

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Variety, the Children's Charity Of St. Louis, has helped tens of thousands with physical and developmental disabilities for 80 years. Providing them with expensive medical equipment and therapy from birth to age 21.

Shruthi Reed was introduced to FOX 2 viewers in 2012 at the age of 6. She was still learning to walk with braces after surgery to correct a rare genetic disease that left her double jointed in every limb of her body.

In 2010 Cathy and Bob Reed adopted Shruthi from India. She was born with Larsen Syndrome, not only does it affect bone development, it also causes hearing loss.

With knee caps that were severely dislocated her surgeons in St. Louis were amazed she found a way to get around.

The fact that she could do that told us that, number one, she had a very strong desire to walk. Two, she had the spinal cord function to control her lower extremities. To the extent that if we could get her into good alignment, get her knees stable, and strong, we thought she would have walking potential." said Dr. David Anderson.

Did she live up to that potential. Today at the age of 10 Shruthi is almost too fast for her mom to keep with her. She still wears braces but can run, climb and slide like most kids her age. Shruthie gives a lot of the credit to Variety.

Through the years the St. Louis Children's charity has supplied Shruthi with wheelchairs, crutches, braces, therapy and even a special bike. They recently got her hearing aides that allow Shruthi to hear a whisper. Of course, none of these items are cheap.

Her hearing aids are $7,500, her little wheelchair, which is not motorized is about $6,500-$7,000. Even after dozens of surgeries Shruthi's mother says she's always happy and upbeat.

This little girl was essentially non verbal when she arrived in St. Louis. Now she has plenty to say and plenty to teach.

"I think she makes people realize that we don't have anything to complain about; because look at Shruthi. She always says, 'If I can do it, anyone can." said Cathy Reed.

FOX 2 is a proud sponsor of Variety. Earlier this week, we held a special call-a-thon to help raise money for the charity. All the money raised stays right here in St. Louis.

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