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Girl With Rare Disorder Leaves Boston Hospital In Time For Thanksgiving

BOSTON (CBS) -- It was a giant step in the right direction for a 10-year-old from East Boston with an extremely rare disease.

The little girl has endured months of grueling physical therapy after a virus triggered illness, paralyzing her legs. Even though she still has a hard road ahead, she's going home for Thanksgiving.

Paulina Lopez is one tough kid, leaving Franciscan Children's in Boston after a long two months.

"She basically had her nervous system attacked. She had suffered something called Acute Flaccid Myelitis, after getting a common virus called enterovirus," says Dr. David Leslie, one of her doctors. That meant her legs were paralyzed.

"She wasn't standing, walking, she wasn't even crawling at the time when she first came in," says Marcela Donat, a physical therapist at Franciscans. We can only imagine how terrifying that was.

Paulina's mother spoke to WBZ-TV with the help of a translator.

"It was something unexpected. She was walking and all of a sudden she had to be, she needed to be in a wheelchair," says Sonia Garcia.

Franciscan Girl
Paulina Lopez of East Boston at Franciscan Children's in Boston. (WBZ-TV)

Therapists at Franciscan Children's began working with her twice a day for as long as 45 minutes at a time, getting her strong enough to stand and wheel herself around, and ride a special bike.

Paulina has grown to love her therapists and the feeling is mutual.

"She's been a light here. She makes everyone laugh and smile no matter where she goes," says therapist Marcela Donat.

Wednesday, Franciscan's staff lined a hallway to say goodbye to the 10 year-old.

"I feel very proud of her. She's very strong," says her mother.

Paulina will be home for Thanksgiving and is looking forward to something special.

"Turkey," she says.

Paulina, who also has Down Syndrome, will continue receiving therapy at Franciscans.

How much progress she'll be able to make is unknown, but doctors say that since she's done so well, they are optimistic.

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