By Janelle Guerrero-Miguel
HNN Summer Intern
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just over a year ago, 8-year-old Clover Villamil was in a wheelchair and could barely sit up.
But on Friday, she started walking on her own for the very first time to the delight of her family and friends.
"I couldn't believe it," said Tyler Villamil, Clover's father. "My wife and I in tears splashed on Facebook to all of our friends."
"We were just so pleased and excited and thinking, 'Oh my gosh, she can walk now,'" he said.
Villamil was born with a rare chromosome defect that affects her cognitive development and makes her muscles very weak. She is unable to communicate verbally.
The Villamils enrolled Clover in the summer program at the YMCA to help her with her social development. The program also helped with her physical development.
Clover's helper at the YMCA sent an iPhone video to her parents of Clover taking her first steps. She has progressed to walking around the Nuuanu pool without her ankle braces.
"It slow progress, but progress nonetheless," Villamil said.
Her parents credit the big milestone on the love and support she receives from her friends and the YMCA programs. The YMCA is the nation's leading nonprofit, and is in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the United States.