We are a family from Malta (Europe) and would like to share our story. My wife and I have two wonderful sons, Jamie, who is now 8 and Julian, who will be 2 on the 15th of this month.
Julian has cerebral palsy. He was born prematurely at 32 weeks and spent 3 weeks in intensive care. At eight months we already noticed that his development was a bit late (he could not sit on his own) and he was using his left hand predominantly (something which babies do not do before 1 year). During a hospital visit at around 10 months, the paediatric neurosurgeon told us that he has an issue and that a head MRI would give us a better idea. This was carried out at 1 year and he was diagnosed with PVL (periventricular leukomalacia) which basically effects his gross motor skills. She told us that he suffers from 'spastic diplegia', which mainly effects his lower limbs. In fact, at almost 2 years, Julian still does not crawl and has difficulty in changing positions. He is very tight with his legs (to open them) and crosses them a lot. For these last months we have started physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as horse riding and swimming therapy. We are positive on his improvement though it is evident that he is still very late.
My wife has stopped her employment and has dedicated these last months to be his dedicated home therapist (and mummy). Obviously we are now striving on my sole income and apart from the monthly bills we are now facing additonal medical costs relating to therapies at around €100 per week (therapies cost €25/hr).
In order to further improve Julian's chances of getting on his feet and strengthen his muscles, we have now sought an intensive muscle strengthening and condition course in the UK, specific for children with CP (Walk this Way UK) - in Malta these services are very limited. We have already attended for a 2 week course in August and things seem very encouraging. In fact Julian is now (very slowly) managing to get the grip on a walker (photo). We have to go back to the UK at least four times a year, with a therapy cost of gbp800 (gbp400/week), apart from (budget) flights and accommodation.
As parents we will go over the moon to try to help Julian be as independent as possible. Parents like us know how hurting it is when we go to a play area, or playground and see that our son cannot do the normal things that other children can do. However, everyday we thank God on the precious gift that he has given us. This means so much to us, and so we already thank you, wholeheartedly, for your precious donation, however small it may be.
God bless you all.