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Paralyzed Edmonton toddler moves from homemade Bumbo wheelchair to treadmill

Click to play video: 'Tiny cancer survivor Eva on the move' Tiny cancer survivor Eva on the move
WATCH ABOVE: She stole hearts years ago in her homemade Bumbo wheelchair. Now, little Eva is making huge strides thanks to a new paralysis recovery centre. Su-Ling Goh reports – Mar 27, 2018

Evelyn Moore sings the alphabet song as her tiny running shoes plunk down on the treadmill.

The paralyzed 2 1/2-year old is strapped to the machine with a special harness, as two health workers lift her legs up and down to complete each step.

“All done,” the smiling toddler chirps as she’s unbuckled and carried off to continue her exercise routine.

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Neuro Exercise Specialist and Co-founder of ReYu, Nancy Morrow works with Evelyn Moore on the treadmill at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Neuro Exercise Specialist and Co-founder of ReYu, Nancy Morrow works with Evelyn Moore on the treadmill at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Neuro Exercise Specialists Karly Russell, left and Nancy Morrow work with Evelyn Moore on the treadmill at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Neuro Exercise Specialist and Co-founder of ReYu, Nancy Morrow works with Evelyn Moore on an exercise machine at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. Evelyn Moore was permanently paralyzed below her arms after a bout with cancer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Kim Moore puts her daughter Evelyn Moore in a harness to help with a waking exercise at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Edmonton girl made headlines and melted hearts in 2016 with images of her expertly rolling along in a homemade wheelchair that her father fashioned from a foam baby Bumbo seat, a cutting board and bike wheels.

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One-year-old Eva Moore gets around her home in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday August 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

At four-months-old, Evelyn was diagnosed with cancer and a tumour on her spine left her paralyzed below her arms. After several rounds of chemotherapy, doctors announced she was in remission, but the paralysis was permanent. They told her parents she could be fitted for a wheelchair after she turned two.

READ MORE: Baby’s homemade wheelchair makes the impossible possible

Her parents didn’t listen and, a few months later, the tot was in her homemade chair.

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One-year-old Eva Moore plays at an indoor play ground in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday August 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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One-year-old Eva Moore plays at an indoor play ground in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday August 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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One-year-old Eva Moore plays with other kids on bikes at an indoor play ground in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday August 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

And now, her blond hair long enough for bitty pigtails, Evelyn is hitting the gym and walking — with the help of machines.

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“We aren’t taking the typical route that most parents will, and that’s OK,” says her mother, Kim Moore.

Evelyn Moore plays hide and seek with her mom Kim Moore at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

She explains that Alberta funds monthly home visits by occupational and physical therapists, but she wanted more therapy for her daughter.

“I’ve been told many times that my daughter is paralyzed, which I understand,” Moore says. “But that doesn’t mean she can’t walk. That doesn’t mean she can’t live a life that has quality to it.

Last July, Evelyn became the youngest client at Edmonton’s non-profit ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre.

Co-founder Bean Gill, who was paralyzed after she contracted an apparent virus six years ago, says the centre uses activity-based training to help people with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, stroke, cerebral palsy, brain injuries and neurological conditions.

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Evelyn Moore goes for a ride with Bean Gill, co-founder of ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The repetitive form of rehabilitation has helped clients reach such milestones as learning to speak, signing their names and brushing their hair, she says.

Gill first saw Evelyn on the news in her Bumbo wheelchair and offered to help the feisty girl with so much potential.

Evelyn Moore has a quiet moment with Bean Gill, co-founder of ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

By getting Evelyn on a treadmill for nearly an hour three to five times a week, even though she can’t walk on her own, she has gained bladder control, strengthened her immune system and developed muscles, says Gill.

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Evelyn can slightly kick her legs.

And she can sit up without using her hands.

“The best part is she doesn’t know it’s working out,” Gill says. “To her, it’s fun. She’s playing with a purpose.

“She’s turning into this sassy little lady. She’s going to take on the world and it’s awesome.”

Neuro Exercise Specialist and Co-founder of ReYu, Nancy Morrow works with Evelyn Moore on the treadmill at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Nancy Morrow, a neuro exercise specialist who teamed up with Gill to open the centre, says exercise repetition encourages the spinal cord and its patterns to effectively “wake up.”

In addition to the treadmill, Morrow says Evelyn plays around on the floor with toys, takes juice breaks and throws temper tantrums — everything two-year-olds do.

READ MORE: Alberta toddler who captured hearts in homemade Bumbo wheelchair is in remission

And sometimes she gets strapped into a special mobility harness called an Upsee.

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Evelyn Moore and her dad Brad Moore get ready for a walking exercise at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Evelyn gets strapped to the front of her father’s long legs, their four feet tied into the same shoe platform. Brad Moore walks stiffly around the ReYu exercise room, jokingly describing himself a giant Transformer robot as Evelyn plods along, pointing in the direction she wants him to take her.

Evelyn Moore is hooked up to her dad Brad Moore as they take part in a walking exercise at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Using the device, Evelyn was able to walk outside the centre last summer and, for the first time, stuck her nose into a bush. She hadn’t been able to do that before from the seat of her wheelchair. The moment brought her mother to tears.

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Evelyn Moore is hooked up to her dad Brad Moore as they take part in a walking exercise at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday April 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Brad Moore says it’s amazing to see his daughter’s progress. And even though she now has a real wheelchair, he’s holding onto her Bumbo one as a keepsake.

“One day when she has a better understanding of things, we’ll say, ‘This is where it started.'”

WATCH: An Edmonton toddler battling cancer stole hearts across Canada in her tiny homemade wheelchair last year. Su-Ling Goh has an update on Eva Moore and her family. (April 2017)

Click to play video: 'Edmonton toddler Eva Moore in remission' Edmonton toddler Eva Moore in remission
Edmonton toddler Eva Moore in remission – Apr 25, 2017

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