Phil Tufnell film

Ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell introduces the story of Sophie, who came to The Children's Trust for brain injury rehabilitation, and explains why he supports us...

Click here to find out more about our paediatric acquired brain injury rehabilitation service...

Video transcription:

"Hi, I’m Phil Tufnell. Now, some of you might recognise me off the TV, some of you might have even watched me play cricket. But how many of you know that I have another passion, something I feel very strongly about.

"I want to tell you more about the work of The Children’s Trust. Since 1984, the Trust has helped hundreds of disabled children and their families to have a better life and I’ve been fortunate to witness some of the amazing work they do.

"All the children here have severe disabilities – some were born with them, some develop their condition due to a terrible illness or a terrible accident. But they share one thing, they all want to be children and grow up to have the best life possible and that’s the aim of The Children’s Trust.

"Let me tell you about Sophie. When Sophie was born, she appeared to be a perfectly healthy baby, but after a year her parents realised something was terribly wrong.

"Sophie was a big baby when she was born, an unexpected redhead, and it was nice to have a girl after I’d had her brother. She was around about 20 months of age when we started to realise that we had a problem. She just started to become, having walked quite early on, she just started to stagger about a bit and it progressively got a lot worse. She had a CT scan which was unsuccessful because she wouldn’t lie still. So we then had an MRI the following day under general anaesthetic which confirmed that she had a brain tumour.

"We went down to Addenbrooke’s and started on a course of steroids, to reduce the tumour just a fraction and we were then taken for an operation to remove the tumour. It all went to plan – she went to have her operation and then she was taken to the Intensive Care department. It was then that things started to take an unexpected turn because she couldn’t breathe for herself and it was then that I think things just went from bad to worse. It left her in a coma basically, she wasn’t able to breathe for herself, she wasn’t able to move, to swallow, and to speak. Lots of times we were just looking for a sign – a smile, a recognition and there was just nothing. Having, only that morning, had her talking to us was very hard to deal with.

"It’s been very difficult for all of us and there’s been so many ups and downs. When we were told, on two occasions, that we probably shouldn’t expect her to pull through, we really didn’t know where we were.

"When we first came to the Children’s Trust, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but she has come on leaps and bounds, and her personality has really come through. She’s now doing crawling which she couldn’t do before. For her to have some independence and to be able to be mobile is actually more than I can explain.

"It’s like it's tailor made especially for her.

"The Trust has helped because I can now actually be her Mum. The pressure has been taken off me; to be her therapist and to be her nurse and I can now be her Mum. It would be a real struggle if Sophie hadn’t had come to the Trust. We did have a brief time, a brief spell at home where resources are so stretched, but she wouldn’t be in the place where she’s in now.

"It’s a lifeline that has been thrown to us. It’s been a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring Sophie, to help her through the ordeal that she’s been through. I describe The Children’s Trust as an environment for learning and play, for being supported, for having fantastic therapists, to be held in a time where you feel really lost by what’s going on and everything around you.

"I think everyone should get involved with the Trust, I’ve seen the benefits for Sophie and every child should have that chance.

"I think the fact that she is happy and confident, and likes being here has just given us the opportunity to move forward really and to be a family again.

"Thanks to The Children’s Trust, Sophie is making small steps to a much better future. There is nowhere else like The Children’s Trust. They not only provide rehabilitation for children with brain injuries, they also provide specialist education, therapy and nursing care to some of the most severely disabled children in the country. That’s why I feel strongly about helping, whether it’s playing cricket with the kids or turning up to fundraising events, so why don’t you join me and do your bit in helping an amazing charity, and changing some kids’ lives."