Appeals

  • Two-year-old Rosie came to us recently. She suffered a serious brain injury whilst waiting for a heart transplant. Her mum Sara tells Rosie’s story.

    One morning I went to wake my two-year-old daughter, Rosie, and found her unable to move. Her legs and face were also swollen. I rushed her to A&E. Devastating news
    Rosie in the hospital
    Rosie in the hospital
    Rosie was diagnosed with a heart disorder. At first I was relieved, but then doctors told us that her heart could fail at any time and she needed a transplant. Whilst we waited for the transplant Rosie was her old self but then she deteriorated and suddenly collapsed. She had gone into cardiac arrest. Having to give my own daughter CPR was terrifying. The doctors managed to stabilise Rosie. But she needed a mechanical heart. A serious brain injury The medication led to a series of bleeds and clots in Rosie’s brain. She had two brain bleeds, followed by multiple strokes affecting her movement, leaving her unable to swallow, eat or talk. Soon after, Rosie’s heart operation went ahead. The operation was a success and Rosie’s new heart worked perfectly. However, Rosie still had a long road ahead. She had been left with a serious brain injury, she was ‘floppy’ and unable to support herself.
    Rosie in physiotherapy
    Rosie in physiotherapy
    Progress at The Children’s Trust Rosie’s brain injury affected both sides of her brain, making it harder for her to carry out tasks. She needed very different support than she had before. Physiotherapists used exercises to encourage Rosie to improve her movement, flexibility and posture. She now has better head and body control and looks around and sits up in her wheelchair with just a little help. Rosie’s speech and language therapists taught her to use a special computer which tracks her eye movement to make choices on a screen. We hope Rosie will be able to use this as her main way to communicate. Moreover they made rehabilitation fun.
    Rosie using a switch
    Rosie using a switch
    Play is an important part of learning for children. Switches and buttons attached to toys allow children with brain injury to control their environment and see the cause and effect of their actions. Rosie loved using switches to turn on a light or make a sound. I cannot imagine what we would have done without The Children’s Trust. It is an amazing place and they do extraordinary things. They support children with brain injury to live the best lives possible. I never expected that Rosie would need rehabilitation in a place like The Children’s Trust. Life can change in an instant. You could help a child like Rosie today. One child every 15 minutes in the UK is left with a brain injury and The Children’s Trust wants to help as many of these children that they can. A special switch operated toy like the ones Rosie used could cost from £20, but it makes such a difference to a young child with brain injury. Please donate today and support more children like Rosie. Thank you.                                      
    Rosie and myself at The Children's Trust
                                                           
  • Tommy in a pushchair
    Tommy came to The Children’s Trust after he fell 50ft from a hotel balcony onto concrete. He was only two and the accident left him unable to walk, talk or feed himself. This is the story of his remarkable recovery.

    Tommy's story is told in his mum Tina's words: “We were on holiday in a hotel in the Canary Islands. We were at the hotel and Tommy was having fun running between me and his Dad on the balcony. I went to get a nappy and heard my husband scream, “No!” The Fall Tommy had turned right instead of left and ran over a low wall without a railing. He fell 50ft onto concrete. A passing doctor saved his life. He was rushed to hospital where he was stabilised. He had no broken bones but he was in a coma. Three days later he was flown to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. The doctors could not give a prognosis but they said he would never be the same child we took on holiday. We were told to expect the worst. Intensive Care After two weeks in intensive care he finally woke up. I would tell him his favourite jokes and sing the songs he knew. But his body was lifeless. Tommy's recovery was slow. He had damaged an area of his brain called the cerebellum. It meant he could not sit up, he was paralysed down one side of his body, he had no speech and had to be tube-fed. One month later he was transferred to The Children's Trust for rehabilitation. Hope I was terrified to hand my child over to the therapists. I told my husband we would stay one month. But when reality started to sink in, I realised it would be longer.
    Tommy in a suit that helped him stand
     And my anger and hurt soon vanished when Milla (his key worker) sat me down and reassured me we were there for one purpose – to help my son. Finally it felt like I had someone I could talk to, someone who listened and understood. Over the following weeks the transformation took place I saw how the therapists adapted their techniques for my little boy. They saw him as I did, a 2 year old boy who just wanted to play. And play he did – drums, puppets, dinosaurs, castles, gardening, window washing. The list was endless.
    Tommy using a walker
     And I saw how they did this for each child. There is no magic formula that works for every brain injury. Every case is different. They worked day and night, coming up with ideas that worked. Slowly Tommy learnt to sit up, then to crawl and, before we left six months later, Tommy had walked six steps. He is also talking again and feeding normally. Obviously Tommy still has problems, but without the foundation to his recovery he received in those crucial first six months after injury we would not be where we are now. Tommy The therapists at the Trust challenged him and pushed him beyond his limits. They also taught me and my husband how to do the same. You just assume that he cannot do anything because of his injury. But the therapists never looked at it that way – they focussed on Tommy and what he could achieve. I think he is thriving because of this and I am a better parent because of what I learnt from Milla and the people at the Trust.” Tommy's accident changed his life and those of all the people around him. Fortunately Tommy was able to come to The Children’s Trust and receive specialist rehabilitation treatment. As a result it has given him the best chance possible. But 40,000 children in the UK get a brain injury each year. One every 15 minutes. We want to give the same kind of opportunities that Tommy had to every one of them. Please help children with severe brain injuries like Tommy.

A gift of £20 could buy a special switch operated toy for a child with brain injury

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