Indianapolis News and Headlines


Boy who'd 'never walk' finishes 200th parade

Posted at 8:07 PM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 20:07:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's quite a rebound from Erica Hahn's darkest days.

Tuesday afternoon she was all smiles, but ten years ago, her heart ached.

"Hysterical crying to be honest. I sat in a corner for probably 24 to 48 hours like just wanting it all to go away,” Hahn said.

The light slowly seemed to appear in Hahn's son's eyes the moment he set foot here in the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

"Hi!” 10-year-old Spencer Hahn greeted a friend.

It's a simple greeting doctors told Erica she would never hear from her child.

"It was the bleakest of diagnoses,” Hahn said. 

Spencer suffered from a massive stroke while in utero and was born with a number of ailments, including autism.

Erica says doctors told her that her son would never talk or walk, but, years later, that’s not the case.

"He said his first words at the Children’s Museum, he took his first steps at the Children's Museum,” said Hahn.

A place they visited at first just to walk around, but soon she noticed therapy equipment that at the time she could not afford.

"I was a single mom. I lived in a one bedroom apartment,” Hahn remembered.

For 10 years they visited the museum about twice a week.

Quickly Spencer acquired a reputation with the staff.

Kimberly Harms, the director of media public relations at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, says she’s watched him grow.

"Spencer has used this parade as a learning tool,” Harms said.

That parade would be the End of the Day Parade held right before the museum closes.

The parade usually stars Spencer's pal, Rex the Dinosaur, but on Tuesday Rex allowed the spotlight to shine on Spencer.

You see, his 10th birthday was the day before and this marked Spencer’s 200th parade. 

“Everyone follow me!” Spencer said as children lined up behind him.

He’s not only walked the parade route – he's also made it a point to lead it.

"Spencer is quite the character,” Harms said.

A feat his mother still can’t get over today.

Thinking back 10 years ago to the time when that first diagnosis was made to this day.

A day when dozens of children lined up behind her son holding signs high and cheering in support.

"For me over the years it's become a culmination of all the things he was never supposed to do,” Hahn shared through tears.

Someday Spencer hopes to work alongside his buddy Rex at the museum helping other children like him.

He’s already got a head start, raising more than $300 that he donated to the museum so they can use it to help other children with special needs.