UCP SuperStar faces adversity with a smile

UCP superstar Kimber Lasiter

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - “I’m gonna be on TV,” Kimber Lasiter hums to herself as she rides a swing in her classroom at UAMS Kids First Pocahontas.

A sweet melody sung by a girl who has known much difficulty and struggle in life.

But, through it all, the 4-and-a-half year old remains resilient.

She's full of laughter and drive to do whatever she wants.

In fact, she was born with that drive.

"It was 23 weeks and five days when they arrived," Sierra King, Kimber's mother, said.

Kimber and her brother, Ruger, were quickly airlifted to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.

“Their eyes weren’t open. He was one pound and five ounces and she was one pound and three ounces,” King said.

"The doctors came out and told me that he was in pretty bad shape," Jeff Lasiter, Kimber's father, said.

“I met my son six hours before we took him off the ventilator,” King said. “And then, we spent six months from June until December with Kimber in there (LeBonheur).”

They dealt with the loss of a son and knew their daughter faced challenges after suffering a serious bleed in her brain.

Her lungs weren’t fully developed.

Then, part of Kimber’s intestines quit working and she had to have blood transfusions.

“They went in and cut about two centimeters of her intestines and put them back together,” King explained. “It was dead and it had a lot of drainage.”

So many difficulties... but Kimber has found a way to deal with each one.

“When I first evaluated her, she wasn’t rolling. She wasn’t sitting by herself,” Caitlyn Holder, Kimber’s physical therapist said. “She had very poor head control, lost of spasms. Lots of spasticity.”

At UAMS Kids First in Pocahontas, a pediatric day health care program for children with special health care needs, Kimber works on developing independence.

Staff at UAMS Kids First in Pocahontas made a poster wishing Kimber well on her telethon appearance.
Staff at UAMS Kids First in Pocahontas made a poster wishing Kimber well on her telethon appearance. (Source: KAIT-TV)

Kimber is just like any other child.

She likes to play and have fun.

But, getting from point A to point B is a bit more challenging.

“She’s always been a little fighter,” Holder said. “She had to be.”

That’s especially the case since she has been sick so often; spending time in and out of the hospital.

“It put a lot of stress on our marriage,” King said. “Part of the reason why we are no longer married is that losing a child and then having one with special needs, that has to have constant attention causes a lot of depression and anxiety. It was just too much on us to take care of both.”

But, for Kimber’s sake, they’ve found a way to work together.

"She’s making great strides,” Lasiter said.

There’s noticeable improvement.

“She was here,” he gestures with his hands and makes a big step forward to illustrate. “And now she’s here!”

“She loves to race!” Holder said. “That’s the best way to get her to walk in her walker is to race.”

Holder explains that Kimber’s progress has prepared her for kindergarten.

“She is sitting independently,” Holder said. “She transfers in and out of chairs by herself.”

“She is as smart as can be,” Lasiter said of his daughter. “She just can’t walk. That’s her only hold back. She can’t walk.”

“She may walk tomorrow. Or, she may walk when she is 13 or 14 years old,” King said of her daughter. “I want her to understand being smart and working harder towards what she wants is more important.”

Copyright 2020 KAIT. All rights reserved.