East Knoxville, Tenn (WVLT) -- Most parents will tell you that first birthdays, becoming a teenager at age 13, and then turning 18, a young adult, are major milestones to celebrate.
But for one East Knoxville family, seeing their daughter turn two is huge, and encouraging news.
Nora Gooden's second birthday celebration is one her family will always cherish.
Her mother, Jaime Gooden says, "90 percent of SMA kids don't make it to two 2, so we have now entered that elite category of children of ten percent who make it past the two mark. So it is a huge milestone for us."
Nora's favorite celebrity, Mini Mouse even made a surprise appearance at her party on Sunday.
Mom says, "Nora just lit up. It was priceless."
Because the genetic disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy stripped her of muscle movement, nora cannot talk, hug or even wave at her new friend.
"She had the movement in her arms and she could still hold books and toys, light ones, but she lost that some time in October, so now pretty much the only movement she has is in her face and head movement, Jaime says."
Nora now plays and learns like a two year old in an adaptive way with an ipad, and arm slings her mom jaime invented.
Tj gooden says, "We have a system where she can still kind of regain what she has lost with her arms and her hands a little bit. The arm slings have made a world of difference a big impact, it's the only thing she can move with outside of water."
The Goodens pray for a healthy year and a third birthday, but more immediately, visiting Nora's favorite gal pal, Mini Mouse on her turf- during the national SMA conference in the spring.
TJ says, "With SMA, that is about as far as you can look ahead. So, you just focus on a close target, that's what you shoot form, and for us, it's all about Disney now."
You can check out the Gooden's new website for more information on SMA and the slings Jaime invented.
Grab a link at the bottom of this page.
*****A special thanks to "Character Impressions," a local business that sent Mini Mouse over to the Gooden's celebration for Nora.