Making Friends:

Dalynne Grover of Laie, Hawaii

By Lawrence Cummins and Barbara Grover, who contributed facts and photos

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    “How is she doing that?” the physical therapist asked in amazement as the plucky little girl swung her legs and walked with only full-leg braces and a walker. Dalynne’s doctor was convinced that without braces clear to her hips, which limit a person’s mobility, Dalynne’s body would jackknife when she walked.

    Because she was born with spina bifida (a serious defect of the spine, which affects the nerves in the lower part of the body) the doctors were sure that Dalynne would be paralyzed from the waist down and spend her life in a wheelchair. But Dalynne has surprised everyone right from the start.

    “And,” according to her mother, Barbara Grover, “it is one of the ways that the Lord has provided us, through Dalynne, the opportunity to exercise and increase our faith.”

    A priesthood blessing was given to Dalynne by her father, Wells Grover, and the home teachers soon after she was born, because surgery was necessary to close Dalynne’s spine and to install a shunt system to drain excess fluid from her brain. And there have been other prayers that were answered during critical times in Dalynne’s young life.

    Untold hours of patient encouragement from her family have helped Dalynne to strengthen her muscles and to try new things, which, in turn, have helped her to expand the possibilities for a more complete life.

    Besides her own efforts, Dalynne was greatly helped by the Easter Seals swimming program. Her mother says that Dalynne hated to put her face into the water at first, but now she swims underwater and dives from a sitting position. As the Utah Easter Seals poster child for two years, she met many celebrities.

    When Dalynne was seven, she pledged to walk in a Primary fun run to aid a foreign missionary fund. Her family and friends, who sponsored her, hoped that she could walk one-fourth mile. But she walked a whole mile with her braces and crutches! Because she is unable to stand alone, her brother Darin baptized her by supporting her on his knee before she was immersed in the water.

    School friends also have encouraged Dalynne to achieve. When someone stole her wheelchair, her classmates contributed sixty dollars toward the purchase of a new one. Then when the thief returned the wheelchair, she was told to keep the money to help buy a pair of crutches.

    Dalynne’s circle of friends includes retired couples in her neighborhood who share their candy, cookies, and gum with her. Asked who her best friend is, Dalynne answered, “My grandpa.” Grandpa Kelly accompanies her to school on his standard bicycle while Dalynne rides her hand-pedaled bike.

    The greatest contributing factor in Dalynne’s cheerful progress in life is her own sweet and loving spirit that continues to brighten the lives of those around her. When she was just learning to talk, she would chant over and over again, “I happy! I happy!” And that’s the way she still feels about life.

    Photography by Lawrence Cummins and Barbara Grover

    1. Looking at book with Pat Boone at Easter Seals reception

    2. Dalynne and her family

    3. Dressed in Halloween costume with her friend Tara

    4. Grandpa Kelly and Dalynne riding bikes to school

    5. Singing at school program