Help Thea walk & talk
No parent wants to find themselves writing a request asking others to help their child do something as simple as walking and talking, but Thea is a very special child and she, and we, need some help.
Thea is our first child and was born by emergency caesarian 10 weeks early and spent the first weeks of her life in intensive care. This was a terrifying thing for us, and heartbreaking to see our beautiful baby girl covered in wires and breathing tubes but because of her strength we soon left the hospital and settled down as a family.
Several months later our world was again turned upside down when we found out that Thea has Cerebral Palsy affecting her legs and left side. As we learnt more about the condition we went through the initial confusion and fear and learnt to see past it and stay focussed on seeing Thea as the happy, loving and playful girl she is. With the help of our family, the NHS, Social Services and private physiotherapists, Thea is now able to take several steps unaided.
Thea’s nearly 3 years old now, and we’ve recently learnt that the brain injury she sustained in her birth has also affected her communication ability and that she will need additional support and therapy to help her speak as well as walk.
Why we’re raising money
Thea has complex and special needs, and Thea’s dad and I work hard to ensure that we’re doing everything to meet them. We’re painfully aware that these early years are the time when we have the biggest opportunity to make a difference for Thea’s whole life, so right now we’re spending our savings and our wages ensuring that she has access to great physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and one-on-one care.
We’re raising money for additional therapy and equipment that will help with Thea’s independence, walking and speaking.
The first is to help pay for special suit called a Mollii Suit that will help reduce the spasticity of Thea’s muscles using a low level electric current (a bit like a TENs machine used in pregnancy). Thea found this suit with the help of the team at The London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy (LCCCP), where their team use them to work with children to incredible success. When we tried the suit out with Thea the results were obvious and impressive, Thea could move immediately more easily, this is a huge deal for her as it makes it easier for her to strengthen all her muscles without the interference of such tight spastic muscles. The first set of suits and their control panels will cost £4,500.
Along with the suit, Thea will need a specialist physiotherapist providing one on one support and therapy to help her learn to walk freely and with confidence. We know that working with Thea intensively when when young will give her the greatest possibility of a happy and independent life as she grows up. Each session costs £80, and a month long course of intensive therapy is £4,000.
Each year she will need a new suit which costs over a thousand pounds, but we know from watching her moving after wearing the suit and seeing her friends at the LCCCP that for Thea it will be life-changing.
The damage to Thea's brain also affected her ability to communicate and speak. Although she understands lots, she hasn't yet found out how to use her voice to talk. Thea can say the beginning of a few words like, 'maw' when she wants more (usually more raisins!) or 'peh' for Peppa Pig which she loves. We know that with support she will speak more so we've started to look for additional help and found a speech and language therapist who will work with Thea, us and her nursery to help her use her voice more. We've been advised that taking action now when Thea's learning fast is important and that we should have 2 hours of one on one therapy with her every day in the week. We also need to have a two day workshop to get everyone who looks after Thea (including her teachers, carers and family) to understand how to help her. The workshop is £1200 and each week we will need to find £200 for the one on one sessions. We're trying to raise money for the first 6 months which will cost around £6000.
We know this is a lot of money, but we feel it's really important for us to do as much as we can when Thea is still growing and developing. She's a beautiful child with so much potential and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to help her along the way.
Thank you for reading Thea's story, and thank you for any help you can give.
Tree of Hope reserves to use these funds for any purpose stated in the parents charter, including but not limited to, medical treatment, surgery and therapies and related travel expenses, medical and exercise equipment, childcare, home adaptations and the cost of vehicles designed for the disabled.