This week, we would like to change the life of a 9 year old girl from Hastings called Izzie, and her incredible family.
Before Izzie was born, she had fits. They don't know what caused it, but it led to her being born with diplegia cerebral palsy. This means she can't walk without a walking frame and uses a wheelchair when she gets too tired. She also has a right sided weakness, bladder and bowel problems.
When the neurologist told Izzie’s mum and dad she had cerebral palsy, he also told them he didn't know what her prognosis would be and that it was down to her own determination and their support. Luckily, Izzie has some pretty special parents who have done everything in their power to give their little girl the best chance possible. They have done thousands of hours of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy with Izzie, as well as sign language courses. And they have raised an amazing little girl - Izzie swims, attends Brownies, is an Orange belt in Judo (she even just got ‘outstanding’ in her school report for PE!), and dreams of becoming a paediatrician when she grows up.
Izzie also spends a lot of time fundraising for charities and for children with disabilities, and she helps to raise awareness of the difficulties facing families of disabled children - all at just 9 years of age. She is incredible.
Izzie has just had to have major orthopaedic surgery to her legs and feet and is working hard to get walking again. But she needs intensive physiotherapy more than ever. It won't ever enable her to walk without a frame but it will help her to maintain her levels of mobility and make is easier for her to transfer between the frame and the wheelchair.
The major issue this family is now facing is that Izzie’s mum, Paula, has a degenerative disorder called spina bifida occult. She was diagnosed 4 years ago, and last year had to have spinal cord surgery, which will hopefully stop the progression of the condition. But it means she can no longer do physio with Izzie at home, which will make life a lot harder for them.
As I was researching this family, I discovered so many amazing things about them - and the more I found out the more overwhelmed I was with just how much they do on a daily basis. Izzie's mum, Paula, recently received a Community Heroes Award for her charity work. Both her and Izzie's dad, Paul, are trustees of the Promotion of Disability in Sport (PODS) and Paula is also chair of the Adopted Families Group (Paul and Paula also have an adopted son who has both an attachment disorder, similar to autism, and Christmas disease, a form of haemophilia.)
Paul is a paramedic and also runs a large inclusive judo club, training hundreds of athletes including Special Olympic world champions. He was instrumental in bringing together the Special Olympics and The British Judo Association. And his club recently won the Queens Award for voluntary services - the equivalent of an MBE.
This is a family that gives so much to so many people, but have now found themselves in need of some help. We would love to help them give Izzie the equipment and physio she needs.