Ten years to the day since she was adopted from an orphanage in Kazakhstan, Hannah crossed the finish line of the Disney Princess 5K.
Hannah Herman 5k
Credit: runDisney

Doctors never expected Hannah Herman to walk, let alone run.

But on February 21—10 years to the day since she was adopted from an orphanage in Kazakhstan—Hannah ran the Disney Princess 5K at Walt Disney World, finishing hand-in-hand with her mom Erin.

Hannah, who was born with a severe club foot, was left in a maternity hospital in Kazakhstan as an infant. Erin was told by the adoption agency that it was likely that Hannah would never walk. Nevertheless, she brought her home and began treatments including surgery and physical therapy.

“She used a walker for a long time and, all of a sudden, it came together,” Erin told WKRC Cincinnati. “She had coordination and strength and endurance.”

After she started walking at age two, Hannah kept on defying the odds, later running and swimming competitively. Now 10 years old, her goal is to one day complete a triathlon.

For Erin and Hannah, celebrating their 10 year “Hannahversary” by participating in the runDisney Disney Princess race was extra meaningful.

“It’s a very special place for us to celebrate,” Erin told the Disney Parks Blog. “I always say she was my fairy tale, she was my dream come true, and here we are in the happiest place on earth.”

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But it's not about the medals for the Herman family.

“It’s the things we say yes to that change the course of our lives, and you can look at any child at any point in time and say her story does not have to end this way,” Erin told WKRC. “Any child, all they need is a family and love, and, if they have that, everything else can be overcome.”