Brain Deformity Leaves Age Four Girl Disabled. But Moment She Spots Military Dad Takes off Running

No one would dispute that military families face tough challenges when a parent gets deployed, and that counts doubly for those with young children. Indeed, the statistics are striking.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 25 percent of children in military families face depression. Additionally, roughly 20 percent end up dealing with academic issues.

More worrisome is the breadth of problems in military families. A cross section of all age groups reveals that children almost universally display heightened levels of sadness.

Perhaps those challenging circumstances are part of the reason why we love to see soldiers reunite with their loved ones. And few reunions are as heartwarming as RAF Sergeant Jon Caffrey’s first interactions with his daughter Emily upon returning home from Afghanistan.

In a video shot by Sergeant Caffrey’s wife Hannah, viewers see little Emily wave, call, “Daddy!” and set off down an airport walkway at top speed as her father strides toward her. It’s a sight any parent would expect from a 4-year-old daddy’s girl.

But Emily’s case is unique. She has a brain deformity that produces symptoms similar to those of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that describes a variety of neurological conditions. It usually starts due to some sort of damage to a child’s developing brain while in utero.

Common symptoms include overly floppy or stiff limbs which impede movement, a rigid torso, and an unsteady gait. Some also experience cognitive deficiencies and problems with hearing or vision.

“Because of the problems [Emily] has, she’s not very vocal,” Hannah Caffrey told The Daily Mirror. “I had explained to her in the car that we were going to see daddy, but it wasn’t until she saw him that I think she fully realized.”

Her reaction proved more than Sergeant Caffrey expected either. In fact, having her move toward him as fast as she could while supported by her squat, four-legged alligator walker was beyond anything he’d hoped for.

“I have often seen other fathers being greeted by their kids, but never knew how special it really was until Emily came running up to me like she did,” he said. “Luckily the video hides it, but I was closer to tears than I like to admit.”

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