BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — To learn you’re having a baby brings so many changes to your life. For one Mandan family, this change also brought a difficult diagnosis.

Three years ago, Matt and Kris Ferderer found out their unborn daughter Elliott had a heart defect and would need a heart transplant. At two months old, she received that transplant.

“The day she received that heart transplant, there were some complications,” explained Kris. “She ended up having a stroke, which caused her to have right sided cerebral palsy.”

After nine months in Minneapolis, where Elliott received medical care, she was able to return home to her family.

Since then, Elliott has been on a long road to recovery, slowly regaining mobility on the right side of her body.

“Our day to day is pretty busy,” said Kris. “She’s pretty jam packed full with therapies most days of the week, so typically she’ll have either PT, OT, speech coming to the house, or we’re going into the clinic for therapy almost every day, sometimes a couple times a day, and then working on feeding at home, she has a GJ Tube, so we do G feeds at home, and also just work on those eating skills and those oral skills.”

And in between, Elliott and Kris work on home recommendations, going on walks with her walker.

But the Ferderer family hasn’t been alone in the process.

“It’s definitely been a lot of support in the community,” said Kris.

They received so much assistance from friends and family, and Kris says organizations such as CPable will help offer that much needed support for so many families in our area.

“When your child has cerebral palsy, typically you have a lot of adaptive equipment, you know, she utilizes a walker and a cane, we have a whole plethora of things that she needs, orthotics to help her with walking.”

These necessities, and the lodging and gas needed for trips to bigger cities, are not always covered by insurance– so that’s where CPable comes in. They offer financial assistance to help kids like Elliott reach more milestones.

“She’s just recently started eating a little bit more by mouth, she signs, we’re working on sign language as well, picking up on new signs as well as saying some new words,” shared Kris. “She recently started saying her brother’s name, her own name, so things like that have been really great to see.”

CPable also helps bring awareness to how resilient children affected by neurological conditions really are– something that the Ferderers experience firsthand.

“Just seeing how amazing these kids really are, and how much strength and determination they have, and they are just really special,” said Kris. “It’s definitely opened my eyes to a whole other side that I thought I understood before, but now, obviously living through it, you have a better understanding of what it’s like on the day to day for kids that have mobility impairments and things like that, and their families.”

Kris says Elliott has worked up a big appetite now that she’s able to eat solid foods. She says she will eat anything and everything, but her favorite food right now is Cheetos.