NewsPinellas County


Toddler born with spina bifida builds leg muscle walking all over Disney World

Harper Mae is making amazing progress
Posted at 3:15 AM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 14:11:16-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The "Baby Shark Girl" is making big strides.

When ABC Action News first introduced you to Harper Mae Comparin, the then-2-year-old girl born with spina bifida was learning how to walk via a very unique method: the "Baby Shark" song.

Her physical therapist at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital used the syncopation of the love-it-or-hate-it kids jingle to get Harper Mae to move.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 'Baby Shark' song helps 2-year-old girl with spina bifida learn to walk at St. Petersburg hospital

And it worked.

Now, a year and a half later, her team of medical workers and family members continue to use inventive methods to help her deal with complications related to the birth defect in which the spinal cord fails to develop properly.

She needed therapy to walk and to talk.

Physical therapist assistant Nick Hamilton, who works at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, recently helped Harper Mae when she was scared of getting her leg cast sawed off.

"I'm a big kid, so I fit right in here," Hamilton says.

So he improvised.

He made a cast for Harper Mae's Elsa doll. And it worked.

"Having her baby doll that she carries with her everywhere get a cast just like hers has helped her feel better about it," says mom Erica Comparin.

Hamilton says a big part of Harper Mae's therapy is "improvisation."

Her parents agree.

Harper Mae was already an Internet star for her "Baby Shark" moves.

But now she's lighting things up online again with her unique trips to Disney World.

Chasing characters all over the parks, scampering up ride queues, Harper is developing muscle in the most magical place on earth.

"She doesn't even realize she's doing it," smiles dad Fred Comparin.

To follow the adventures of Harper Mae on Instagram, click here.