Lauren Resnick can spin up to a dozen hoops all at once these days, but she didn’t begin with being able to spin even one. She had to begin with re-learning how to even walk again due to a condition known as Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy (RND). While RND causes consistent and extreme pain, which can be debilitating and was for her during the first two months after her RND surfaced, Lauren wasn’t going to let it keep her down. In fact, the 13-year-old recently performed with her hoops at the Harrisburg Senators’ baseball game.
Her RND condition came to light four years ago while recovering from a broken ankle. “We learned of it after her cast was removed,” her father Terry told the Patriot News. He explained, “The condition kicked in after that. It was really hard to do everything. She couldn’t walk or stand. Around the house, she needed crutches or to crawl up the steps.” The family turned to The Children’s Institute, a hospital in Pittsburgh, where the doctor who created the treatment for RND works.
Her father Terry told Hooping.org, “My wife stayed in Pittsburgh with her the entire time and slept in her hospital room on a pull out chair. Lauren was only 9 years old when she was admitted.” She was treated there for forty-two days and over time she was slowly able to regain her mobility thanks in part to a therapeutic rehabilitation program that came in the shape of a hula hoop. Terry explained, “The hula hoop was actually introduced to Lauren during her stay in the hospital. Once she was able to stand up by herself and start walking some, that’s when they gave her one hula hoop. At night she would walk the hospital hallways with one hoop going around her waist. She would walk the halls at night with my wife, it was part of her nighttime therapy at the hospital after a full day of other therapy.”
For Lauren it may have started with a single hoop, but she began adding others just for fun until she eventually learned how to keep 12 hoops going all at the same time – and many other tricks. She told the Patriot, “I can do pushups with them on my feet, or keep one rolling on each limb.” All of this led to public performances at sporting events in the northeast. Her first performance was during halftime at a St. Joseph’s basketball game this past winter, where she returned for a second performance a few weeks later. She is scheduled to perform during a nationally televised WNBA game in Indianapolis on July 23, and here she is performing at half-time during a Washington Mystics vs Indiana Fever game in Washington DC at the Verizon Center on Father’s Day.
Her father Terry hopes that Lauren’s spin into the spotlight will also be able to help other families struggling with RND. He told Hooping.org, “It is our hope that other parents and kids that learn about Lauren, who also have RND, will find inspiration and that our story will help them as well. RND is very often misdiagnosed, so we’re also hoping that people will learn about the condition and realize that’s what they might have, instead of something that they are incorrectly being treated for.”