All Zac Harper wanted for Christmas was for his baby sister Quinn to have a doll that looked just like her — complete with a cast.
Kris Kringle heard the 7-year-old's request loud and clear. So did the nurses at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where Quinn was getting treatment.
She was born with hip dysplasia, a condition where the socket doesn't completely cover the joint. If untreated, it can lead to arthritis, back pain or limping. One leg could also wind up being shorter than the other.
“Quinn was born breach, which was a surprise to us because she had been ... head down ... previously. Breach babies have a higher likelihood of having hip dysplasia,” mom Melissa Harper told InsideEdition.com. “Hip dysplasia, if it's not caught is one of the main reasons people need hip replacements. Had this not been caught, she could've needed surgery as a teenager, even a full hip replacement in her 30s."
For months, Quinn had to wear a spica cast, which covers the lower body, immobilizing the hips and thighs.
"One of those things you wake up in the morning and think it's gonna be a regular day and you come home and your baby is in a harness and she can no longer be swaddled. You know, we had lots to learn,” Melissa said.
Even baths were off limits for little Quinn, since the cast couldn’t get wet.
That’s why Harper says her son’s request for a doll resembling his sister touched her in such a special way.
“Zac has high functioning autism. For him, the fact that he thought about his sister at Christmas and talked to Santa ‘for’ her was huge for him,” Melissa said.
Terra Barfield, an orthopedic technician who has cared for the 8-month-old during her casting journey, found out about Zac’s request. Together with some nurses, they made the gift and presented it to the siblings on Christmas day.
“I wish I would've captured it. He was like, mom! Her doll has a spica cast. A purple spica cast just like Quinn, how did Santa know?"
Now Quinn is on the move, fitted in a new rhino cast that allows her far more flexibility, and baths.
For the foreseeable future, she'll continue to see doctors, who will monitor her progress.