The 11-year-old suffers from Morquio syndrome, which her mom Rachel says affects her bone growth, her stature and how she walks. Bella’s problems were mounting as she got older and she feared that walking would soon become impossible for her.
“I either got around on crutches or in a wheelchair. It was horrible,” she explains.
Bella’s struggles changed when George, a Great Dane service dog, came into her life thanks to the Service Dog Project, which trains dogs for the mobility impaired.
“Bella uses George just like she would use one crutch. She can lean on him. If she’s down on the ground, she can tell him to brace and she can pull herself up,” her mom tells The Doctors, saying Bella and George are inseparable.
In addition to improving Bella’s mobility, George has also helped Bella regain the ability to walk.
“When I was on crutches, I lost the motion in my legs. But when I got George he forced me to walk, so I gained a lot of strength back in my legs. Since I got George, it’s been a whole lot better because now I can walk again and play and do all these things that before I couldn’t,” Bella says, adding, “I pretty much think he’s one of the best things in the world. I love George.”
Rachel says the addition of George to their family has forever changed Bella. They initially thought after using crutches, she would be confined to use a wheelchair. Now, her daughter is able to run and play like other children her age.
Pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann joins the panel to discuss the syndrome that Bella is facing.
“It’s a very rare autosomal recessive inherited genetic disorder. So Bella got 1 gene from each of her parents, they’re both carriers. So if two people are carriers, their child has a 25 percent chance of developing this syndrome,” she explains.
With the help of George, Bella has worked hard in the face of numerous hurdles and as a small gesture of encouragement, The Doctors surprise Bella with two visitors from a galaxy far, far away that had Bella saying, “There’s so much excitement in me, I don’t know what to say!”
Find out who paid Bella, her mom and her service dog George a visit in the video below!