PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — October recognizes physical therapists who work to boost and rebuild mobility and strength.

Inside Easterseals Central Illinois in Peoria, you’ll find physical therapist Shannon LoPiccolo working with clients like Zoey, a young girl diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

“It’s something about kids,” said Easterseals Pediatric Physical Therapist Shannon LoPiccolo. “They exude so much joy and they have the amazing superpower of living in the present moment that I learn from them. Just like I teach them, I learn so much from them.”

LoPiccolo said she’s been working at the nonprofit for 15 years seeing between five to seven kids a day.

“I am witness to their journeys,” said LoPiccolo. “I am able to help celebrate the milestones and achievements along the way with them and their families and it just feels great to see them progress and meet those milestones.”

Zoey’s mom, Ali, said LoPiccolo has been with them since they learned of her daughter’s diagnosis.

“She’s kind of like a bright light in a place of darkness for us,” said Ali Carpenter. “We’ve just been so grateful she’s been like family. She treats our daughter like family. Treats us like family and is always just there for us.”

This week’s CI Hero said it’s rewarding to be a pediatric physical therapist.

“The kiddos and families I work with are truly the heroes, said LoPiccolo. “They inspire me on the daily.”

Easterseals Central Illinois helps children with developmental delays and disabilities to be 100% included – 100% empowered.

Nominate someone in your community to be our next CI Hero!