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Gabriella: Living Life to it’s Fullest!

collage for disabled little girl fundraiser

Children with additional needs can benefit from a whole host of therapies to compliment the professional services they receive and, in a time, when appointments with professionals are off limits, our families are needing to get a bit more creative with how they assist their children’s needs.

We caught up with Gabriella and her family, who live in Somerset who have been registered with Tree of Hope for some time. They reached out to purchase a hydrotherapy pool with their fundraised monies to assist Gabriella during the lockdown period and beyond.

Gabriella was born with a Rare Genetic Mutation which is now commonly known as Gould Syndrome and as a result Gabriella was diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. Gabriella completely dependent on Mum Mel and Dad Carlo for support but loves spending time and having fun with her big brothers Bebe and Louis who are also a great support to Gabriella and dote on their little sister! Despite the challenges of Gabriella’s condition, the family’s goal has been to help give a fulfilled life as possible.

“Gabriella is a very happy girl, always smiling, laughing” which Carlo explained “absolutely gives us the strength in all the tough times we’ve been through”

The family have such immense appreciation for the NHS who have been amazing to Gabriella since birth as Carlo explained, “before Gabriella I was never a huge user of the NHS but since having Gabriella, I will always have such an appreciation for the system.”

On asking how the family have been getting on during the lockdown, Carlo told us, “Gabriella is quite demanding!” Carlo told us as he chuckled! “So we’ve spent a lot of time together, time that I don’t usually get with the complexities of life and work schedules which has been really lovely and a huge positive of the lock down and it’s been great for us to have time together as a family which is all you could really want as a parent.”

Gabriella receives regular physiotherapy that the family access with the Tree of Hope funds which hasn’t happened since the lock down, which Carlo explained has been one of the bigger challenges they’ve had. “With the physiotherapy not able to go ahead, we needed something else for Gabriella and as a family we’ve always been very on the case with carrying out exercises and including Gabriella in everything, as it’s a great stimulant.”

Gabriella has benefitted from hydrotherapy which is about an hour’s drive away from the family’s home, so the family decided to use their funds for a Hydrotherapy Pool. Carlo told us, “Tree of Hope have been brilliant in helping us organise this and Gabriella has absolutely loved it. Gabriella has very high tone in her muscles and after 10 minutes of being in the pool, the difference in her is really quite something and you can tell how much her muscles are relaxed.”

A big part of Gabriella’s life is going to school with her very supportive peers and teachers. Carlo told us “Gabriella misses’ school a lot and being at school does a lot for her. Her teachers carry out physio exercises with her everyday and they were really kind by dropping the equipment she uses to our house at the start of the lock down. It was clear how much the school and teachers mean to Bella as she got so upset when they left!” Carlo went onto say ”At first I was very unsure about her going to school at all and really thought Bella being at home would be the best place or her… so I’m having to eat my hat on that one!”

On asking what having Hydrotherapy available for Gabriella has meant for both her and the family, Carlo told us, “We’re really pleased with the results of the hydrotherapy pool and we are really fortunate that we’ve had the support to get this organised along with everything else Gabriella has in terms of different things to stimulate her.” Carlo explained, “The travelling we have had to do before, then the getting changed, it made an enjoyable activity a bit stressful so something like this that we can do at home together, as a family makes a massive difference to us all.

Carlo told us, “What Gabriella is achieving now is completely different to what doctors told us and I think a lot of that is down to the amount of stimulation Gabriella has always had. We’re a family of 5 and she’s included in everything we do.” Gabriella has an eye gaze machine to help her communication and the family also bought an X-Rover buggy so that Gabriella and Carlo can get outside on bike ride together – Gabriella’s favourite thing to do! Carlo explained “Things like that are so good for Gabriella, she absolutely loves it and the equipment piece itself really is fantastic in it’s safety, design and what it provides for Gabriella in terms of a stimulant.”

We asked Carlo how being with Tree of Hope helped over the years. He told us, “Before Tree of Hope, we tried to do and fund everything ourselves which was a struggle. We’ve also got two other children so there was always an element of guilt in what we had to provide for Gabriella and the amount we spent on a monthly basis, so that was always quite tough. We’ve been really fortunate with the support we’ve had since we registered with Tree of Hope, from family, friends, people we know choosing Gabriella as their beneficiaries for various events, it’s all just been a massive piece of mind that there has been this facility supporting us, it’s been amazing.

Carlo went onto say, “For families who are fundraising or looking to fundraise, being with Tree of Hope has been amazing and we’re always recommending the organisation. We’d recommend that families utilise all the things Tree of Hope suggest and the support they give, it really is an amazing platform for families like us. In the early stage we didn’t know where to turn for help and Tree of Hope have provided piece of mind and the opportunities, we’ve been able to access for Gabriella which have made a huge difference.”






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