PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s a big hill for little feet.

Outside Anna Wettstein’s Eureka home, just over that same hill, she found a new friend, a best friend, and an unexpected seven-year-old support system — her neighbor Nicole.

“She goes to Easterseals once a week to visit her therapist, and she does certain stuff to make her muscles stronger,” Nicole said.

In the Easterseals warm water therapy pool, Anna swims like a fish. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been a fish out of water.

Even therapy went virtual to keep kids safe while still on track to reach their goals. For now, that means Anna is doing her exercises at home with her biggest cheerleader right by her side.

“She motivates me with team work, and it’s fun when she comes,” Anna said.

Nicole is there for Anna even during what you could call those uphill battles.

“Going up that hill, I had a little sash around my waist and she held onto it yesterday and I helped her up the hill,” Nicole said.

It’s a story of a little help with a lot of heart from two friends who know we all share a common thread.

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