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New pink helmet elicits lots of smiles [Photo Gallery]

Violet Pratt 8 - Mary Free Bed Pediatric RehabilitationViolet Pratt is a spunky 4-year-old. With big brown eyes and a wide smile, she twirls and laughs as she waits with her family in an Orthotics & Prosthetics examination room at Mary Free Bed.

Violet and Cynthia Mary Free BedOn this May afternoon, Violet is here to receive a helmet – “a pink one,” she tells Kim Nequist, the certified orthotic assistant in charge of getting the fit just right.

Violet falls down a lot, explains her grandmother, Cynthia Pratt, who has adopted Violet and her sister. They live on the Pine Creek Indian Reservation in Fulton, Mich.

“We’re always telling her to slow down,” Cynthia says.

Born with spina bifida, Violet has endured more than her share of treatments, surgeries, braces and other interventions.

“She has lots of specialists,” her grandmother says.

One of them is Dr. Amanda Ayala, who specializes in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed.

Dr. Ayala recommended a helmet for Violet when she plays outside. Kim fitted her with a rubber-coated foam helmet and even created notches in it to accommodate Violet’s pink glasses.

“It’s squishy,” says Violet, who plans to decorate the helmet with stickers.

Violet Pratt 6
Violet Pratt 10
Violet Pratt 15

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