FAMILIES across the district are encouraging more people to reach out for support this year's World Cerebral Palsy Day.

Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth.

One family from Bingley said finding out their son's condition was "hard" but, after a number of therapy sessions and surgery, their eight-year-old son has gone from strength to strength.

Isaac Johnson was born via an emergency caesarean section in July 2011 due to a growth restriction caused by problems with the placenta. He later underwent an MRI scan which confirmed that he had spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.


The condition means Isaac faces a range of challenges every day but now Isaac is making strides using intensive physiotherapy and surgery.

Mum Rachel Helm, who blogs about her son's journey, said: "It was hard receiving the news that Isaac had cerebral palsy, but we have felt incredibly fortunate that he has been able to access such a range of different support.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Isaac Johnson from Bingley who is going from strength to strengthIsaac Johnson from Bingley who is going from strength to strength

"While he continues to face some challenges, we felt it was important to speak out about the help that is out there and the ways that children like Isaac are still able to get the best from life. He has made amazing progress and we are so proud of everything that our little boy has been able to achieve."

[The operation] really has made a major difference and we have definitely seen an increase in his self-confidence and motivation" - Mum Rachel Helm

Isaac has benefitted from different types of support including language and occupational therapy and assistive technology support designed to help his learning at school. The family also plans to apply for an Education and Health Care Plan which will help him further.

Isaac recently underwent selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery on his lower spinal cord at Leeds General Infirmary.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Young Isaac gets on a bike after life-changing surgeryYoung Isaac gets on a bike after life-changing surgery

Under the care of Mr John Goodden, a consultant paediatric neurosurgeon, the surgery is designed to improve lower limb function and mobility by reducing tight and stiff muscle tone.

And, according to Rachel, it was a big success.

Rachel said: "SDR in particular has had an amazing impact and we were supported every step of the way by some amazing hospital staff. It really has made a major difference and we have definitely seen an increase in his self-confidence and motivation."

Another mum, Claire Keer from Liversedge, has spoken up about her son's "determination" to aim high.

Zach Eagling was born in June 2011 and suffered a brain injury due to a delayed resuscitation following his delivery at birth. He was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Zach was born at full term following an uncomplicated pregnancy - but he was pale and floppy.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Eight year old Zach Eagling from LiversedgeEight year old Zach Eagling from Liversedge

After problems intubating Zach, it took around 10 minutes before he was ventilated. He was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and ventilated for two days.

Claire is now joining her legal team in raising awareness. After the diagnosis, Claire asked specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care provided at birth.

Rachelle Mahapatra, the medical negligence lawyer who represents Claire, said: “Claire is a great support to her son and is very attentive to his needs, but she understandably finds some days more challenging than others. With World Cerebral Palsy Day approaching, it is important to raise awareness of the condition and what support is out there to help those affected by it.”

World Cerebral Palsy Day takes place this Sunday (October 6).