Tag Archive | cerebral palsy

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

At last April is here. Spring! Except here, spring is rather slow to get going, thanks to all the rain and wind and snow. Even this past weekend, Easter (I hope you all had an enjoyable one), parts of the UK experienced a white Easter, though not for the first time. Here where I am I the West Country, we didn’t have snow but it rained like it was never going to stop. Which means… (click here to read on)

 

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George’s First Steps: A Special Message

Wanted share this is a special message from George:

Thank you Dr TS Park and Dr Matthew Dobbs for giving me the chance to stand on my feet and be like my friends xxx

Enjoy the video people: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgXU_sjw7Z8

George has only just learnt to push his walker himself after 6.5 months of hard, hard work so what he will achieve in this next 6 months is too exciting to think about. To think that when he was born his parents found out he had quadriplegic cerebral palsy doctors said he would never walk, talk or know who anyone was…….well hasn’t he proved them wrong!!!

 

GEORGE’S FIRST STEPS: UPDATE

As promised, here is an update on the progress of our little George since his life-changing SDR operation to help him cope with cerebral palsy that took place in America six months ago.

Six months? Yes, it’s really been that long and what a difference to his and his parents lives. He still needs help when using his walker as it is heavy for him, but each day he gets stronger with the physio and exercises that must continue daily. Each day there is improvement, and like all children, he gets his off days but he comes bouncing back. To think, six months ago he couldn’t sit unaided, spent a lot of his time on the floor, shuffling on his stomach to get anyway, and struggled to do the simplest of tasks we take for granted. Not any more. He’s gained so much independence, even having friends from school in to play and taking part in the school nativity play at Christmas; his speech is improving, and his cheekiness and sense of fun is as wonderful as ever, if not more so.

Rather than go on listing his achievements, his proud parents have put together a video which I hope you’ll take a few minutes of day to look at here. I’ve watched it several times and still my eyes fill with tears at what has been made possible by each and every one of you who donated and helped to make this possible. The closing statement on the video says it all…

Walk for George 2011

If we had planned to walk on the warmest day of the year to date, we couldn’t have chosen a better Sunday morning than dawned on Sunday, 26th June. Those of us hardy (or is that foolhardy?) enough gathered at the Cumberland Obelisk by Savill Gardens, Windsor Great Park  at 11 am. Once the hugging and greeting of family and friends, some not seen for 12 months, was complete, catch up chatter and coffee consumed, we were off, maps in hand, taking a different course to that walked last year. Left behind were several family members, including my 85 year old mother, volunteering to watch the bags and paraphernalia too heavy or hot to carry. Last year, Mother had completed the walk with me; this year she thought the heat would be too much for her. A wise decision.

The path led us alongside the polo ground before dipping down towards the beautiful gardens and over a bridge and alongside the lake. Ducks and swans followed, seeking food, birds darted and sang overhead and squirrels flitted across the paths, shimming up tree trunks, tails swishing as they watched from branches overhead. The gardens and lakeside, a glorious riot of colour from rhododendrons and carpets of bluebells in springtime, were not so pretty this year to an artist’s eye but they were nonetheless magnificent in their green splendour, the trees provided much needed shade as the thermometer rose. In a quiet glade we came across a refreshment stand with seating where we readily stopped, treating ourselves to an ice-cream or lolly and a well-earned rest before continuing.

We took our time strolling along, a motley string of adults, children and dogs enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, taking turns to push George in his buggy (well, not the dogs, obviously). We stopped by the cascade, a cool respite, a good excuse for a photo shoot, before moving on to admire the ancient Roman ruins from Lepcis Magna in Tripoli. Onward and upward we trod our merry way. The chosen route had been on the flat but now the ground rose, the path steep in a long, hard slog uphill in the heat and I fell behind, stopping frequently to rest and catch my breath. Above the treeline I could see the monument. Almost there, I thought, and pushed myself on. Only to find it was the 100 ft totem pole; I still had another half mile to go. This was definitely further than last year. Ahh well, quick rest, deep breaths and move on.

At last, I reached the meeting point. The last one back, much to the relief of my worrying mother (she’s a fanatical worrier, my mother). The route had been approximately 6 miles; I don’t think at that point I could have walked another step and fell into a proffered chair in the shade in need of a large drink. My niece had the foresight the night before to make up a bottle of squash and put in the freezer. What a refreshing, welcome drink to this thirsty walker that was. Baskets at the ready, we enjoyed a smashing picnic, although in truth, it was far too hot to eat much. Afterwards, whilst us old ’uns rested and chatted, the children played football, cajoled adults to take them down to the water’s edge to catch tadpoles or, more importantly, join the queue for another ice-cream.

The day was a great success, enjoyed by everyone. Over £3,000 was raised on the day and that, along with other donations still coming in, we have enough money to cover all George’s Footsteps and Brainwave therapy up to the end of 2012, which is just fantastic. He would not be able to do this therapy without everyone’s committment and so for that his parents, family and George himself thank you so, so much!

The Good In This World And The Bad

The Good in this World

I have been overwhelmed by the generosity in sponsorship for Walk for George taking place at the end of this month (see earlier post). Many of you have already sent donations and I am truly grateful, as I know George and his parents will be. So on behalf of the family, a huge, big THANK YOU. There is still time to sponsor the walk if you wish. All money raised helps pay for George’s therapy and treatment. It is our hope that this time next year, this adorable 4-year-old will be able to take part in the walk too, even if it is just a few unaided steps.

And the Bad

I was horrified, as I am sure you were, to see and hear of the dreadful treatment metered out to residents at a care home near to where I live in South Gloucestershire, brought to the public’s attention by this week’s Panorama Report.  I am also appalled that despite complaints being made in the past about this home, nothing was ever done to stop their suffering at the hands of ill-trained, thoughtless bullies. What horrifies me even more is the thought that little George could have ended up in such an institution if were not for the love and devotion of his parents and the support of family and friends in providing the care he needs. Not all children are so fortunate.

Whilst I readily agree not all care homes and hospitals are the same, indeed many are run by dedicated trained staff who are committed to providing the best care and quality of life they can to their clients, it does beg the question: if it goes on here, where else is it happening? Because it does happen. It always has, from the days of Bedlam and beyond, but that doesn’t make it right.

So, please, dear friends, if you hear even a whisper of such goings on in a home or hospital near you, do report it. Blow the whistle as loud as you can. If we can prevent just one person being treated so appallingly, it will have been worth it.

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Tip of the Day: Always Leave on a Good Note – so here’s one!

I was delighted and thrilled at being asked to join the website community of  Loveahappyending.com, part of Writers Following Their DreamClub founded by the lovely Linn B Halton. This new website, launching on 29th June amidst strawberries and champagne, aims to interactively promote and support selected newly published authors in almost all genres, especially those published independently. We will also be following, helping, encouraging and sharing the journeys of “new faces”, unpublished authors on course to achieving their dream – that of being published. To learn more about the community of Loveahappyending.com do visit the website. And if you love reading, you may well be the kind of associate reader we are seeking to join our Associate Reader Club.

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Coming soon: my EasyPeasy Fruitcake recipe. No foodmixer or whisk required!

WALK FOR GEORGE

I’d like to introduce you to George and tell about Walk For George 2011. 

George is a very special member of my family, the 4-year-0ld son of a nephew. When he was 3 days old a MRI Scan revealed George had suffered a major brain haemorrhage before birth. Doctors said he would never walk, never talk and have severe disabilities including but not limited to cerebral palsy, epilepsy and possible vision problems.  We were also told that he would never know his parents or understand the world or have a normal life. As you can imagine, that was the day life stopped for his parents. What makes this all the poignant for my family is the heartbreaking family history in the years before his birth, something not discussed here. But George has proved those doctors wrong. 

With courage and determination, the constant therapy and hospital visits have eased the stiffness in his limbs caused by cerebral palsy, his left arm and right leg being most affected. To everyone’s delight he can see, he recognises his parents and the rest of his family, he can speak words, learning more and more all the time, and do new things, things we never believed would be possible. What is all the more remarkable is that his is always smiling. His laugh is infectious, his smile so captivating you want to hug him to bits. And, although painful for him, he wants to walk, he tries constantly, pulling himself upright wherever he can. He’s come a long way since those first dark days following his entry into the world. We are so proud of all he has achieved.

No small part in this achievement has been the wonderful help and therapy provided by The Footsteps Foundation, a marvellous centre in Warborough, Oxfordshire that helps people such as George using a harness contraption known as a Spider. George thinks it’s wildly funny and laughs all the time he’s strapped into it. But the sessions at Footsteps don’t come cheap. There is no government funding for this. All his therapy there has to be paid for by his parents. 

Although something never openly discussed and agreed, my family and many family friends decided we would help George and his young parents as much as possible by raising funds to finance the much-needed therapy sessions.

Walk For George began in May 2009 with a sponsored walk around Savill Gardens, Windsor Great Park. Unfortunately I was not able to take part so instead auctioned on of my paintings and donated the the three-figure sum raised.                                       

Last year I did the walk. It was a beautiful hot Sunday in May, the bluebells and rhododendrons out in full glory. (A few photographs are included below. I hope you enjoy them.) My 84 year old mother and I might have been the last ones to complete the 4 mile route but complete it we did, flopping down exhausted but happy to join in the picnic and watch the youngsters enjoy a game of football. A fabulous day out enjoyed by young and old. Where do children get all that energy?

Walk For George 2011 takes place this year on 26 June, at Virginia Water Lake. I shall be taking part again, although mother has declined she’s happy to watch over bags and the food and the little ones. 

If you would like to sponsor me or perhaps make a donation to the cause, George and his parents, and myself, would be exceedingly grateful.

I make no apology for writing about this event. There are times when I truly wish I had a magic wand and could make it all better, not just for George, but for all children who live with this debilitating condition.

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