Just4Children are raising funds for Isabella Rainbow Bright, 3, from East London. She has cerebral palsy (CP) and has been approved for life-changing spinal surgery to help her walk independently. While the surgery is NHS funded, the years of intensive physiotherapy – both before the operation to strengthen her muscles, and after, to redevelop them – is not.
Isabella was born premature at 24 weeks. This tiny warrior went through it all in the neonatal unit – collapsed lungs, brain bleeds, countless blood transfusions, and worst of all, a life threatening illness to her gut, requiring multiple emergency surgeries. But after 6 months’ fighting, she came home.
By the age of two, however, Isabella was still not walking. After some heartbreaking trips to the neurologist, she was diagnosed with CP. We were told she may never walk on her own.
But, from the moment she was born, Isabella had this dogged determination in everything she did. A warrior through and through. Doctors and physios told us this sense was her greatest asset.
We began an intense process of physiotherapy. NHS provisions are minimal so we soon had to go private; early intervention with CP can make a huge difference. We employed a technique called MAES, which retrains the brain to think about movement.
Then, something happened. We noticed she could stand on her own. For a minute, then two, then ten. Then she could bend down. Finally, she took her first steps – one of the happiest moments in our lives.
We added intensive strength and balance based training to her regime with incredible results. She’s walking more, but the road ahead is still long.
Now, she has been accepted for a once-in-a-lifetime, transformational spinal surgery – SDR – which removes tightness in her legs that prevents her from moving them freely. After surgery, the real work begins as she rebuilds underdeveloped muscles. This takes years of intensive physio, much of which isn’t NHS funded.
This is our one shot at giving her independence. Isabella is a beautiful social soul that loves to dance with her walking aid. We can’t wait to watch her dance all on her own.
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