There’s Always Hope

I know you didn’t expect to see me here today but Lavada has kindly stepped aside to allow me to post a special message of hope, faith, charity, courage and determination that has turned the life around of one special little boy in my family. For those of you who know the story of George’s First Steps from my own blog, I make no apologies for telling it again. For those who are unfamiliar with it, grab a coffee and a box of tissues, pull up a chair and let your heart melt as I give you some background to the two videos at the heart and end of this post.

George is the not quite 6-year-old son of my nephew. When George was 3 days old a MRI Scan revealed he’d suffered a major brain haemorrhage before birth. Doctors said he would never walk, never talk and have severe disabilities including but not limited to cerebral palsy, epilepsy and possible vision problems, and that he would never know his parents or understand the world or have anything like a good life. That was the day normal life stopped for his parents. What makes this all the more poignant for my family is the heartbreaking family history in the years before his birth, which I won’t go into here.

With courage and determination, constant therapy at a marvellous private foundation in the UK called Footsteps eased the stiffness in his limbs. He learnt to speak , learning more words all the time. What is remarkable is he is always smiling. His laugh is infectious, his smile so captivating you want to hug him to bits.  George has come a long way since those first dark days following his entry into the world. We are so proud of all he has achieved but it has meant constant worry and fund raising to pay for his therapy.

A little over 12 months ago we learnt he was accepted for a life-changing SDR operation to be carried out at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, but the procedure had to be done before he was 5 years old for it to be successful. That gave the family only 6 months to raise the money to pay for it – £55,000 (about $84,000?). It seemed impossible. A huge mountain to climb. So began a huge fundraising campaign: from marathons and sponsored slims to my sister-in-law in Spain having her head publicly shaved. Money came in from all over the world, a painting donated for auction from a Canadian artist; stores dressing up for the day, all sorts, you name it, we did it. In a little over 4 months we not only raised the full amount, we exceeded it by over £20,000 – enough to pay for his continued physio for several years, and some.

George had his operation just over 6 months ago. The difference is tremendous. He will always probably need the aid of his walker or sticks  to walk but each day he gets stronger. The physio will continue until he stops growing and in a few years’ time he will need a hip replacement and some corrective eye surgery. But to think, 6 months ago he couldn’t sit unaided, spent a lot of his time on the floor, shuffling on his stomach to get anywhere, and struggled to do the simplest of tasks we take for granted. Not any more. He’s gained so much independence, goes to a normal school and has friends in to play, even having a part in the school nativity play at Christmas; his speech is improving constantly, and his cheekiness and sense of fun is as wonderful as ever, if not more so.

Rather than go on listing his achievements, his proud parents have put together a video which I hope you’ll take a few minutes to view. I’ve watched it several times and still my eyes fill with tears at what has been made possible by each and every one who donated and helped to make this all possible. The closing statement on the video says it all…

George has only just learnt to push his walker himself after 6.5 months of hard, hard work so what he will achieve in this next 6 months is too exciting to think about. Through it all he hasn’t lost his sense of fun and that enigmatic smile never ceases to touch the heart of everyone. He wouldn’t be where he is today without the generosity of family, friends and strangers, and no amount of thank yous can express the joy these past 6 months have bought to George, his parents and family. The next video comes from the heart, from George:

“Thank you Dr TS Park and Dr Matthew Dobbs for giving me the chance to stand on my feet and be like my friends xxx”

Enjoy the video, people:

To think that when he was born his parents found out he had quadriplegic cerebral palsy and doctors said he would never walk, talk or know who anyone was… Well, hasn’t he proved them all wrong!!!

15 responses to “There’s Always Hope

  1. Valerie J. Patterson

    What an amazing little boy and what an amazing blessing! God is so good to meet all his needs and to do it so quickly. I was touched and heart-warmed to read his story and see his videos. I hope his progress continues by leaps and bounds, Kit! 😛 He certainly has loving and courageous parents, too!

    • Amazing indeed, Valerie. I find it so humbling when a child fights against all odds and in the process puts our own problems into perspective. I am sure that little man is going to go a long way in the world.

  2. conniefischer

    What a wonderful story and I’m so thankful to know that there are so many people in this world who truly care about someone like this little boy. I’m praying he has as normal a life as possible. God bless.

    • Thanks, Connie. He is an inspiration to us all that no matter how bad the odds seem, there is always hope. The generosity of people has been incredible. George has a great future before him thanks to those all those people that care.

  3. Yep. In tears again. George is such an inspiration to us all, as are his devoted parents and family. Miracles do happen and George feels like one of them.

    • Miracles and angels – they certainly exist when you see what has been given to this lad. The family is indebted to so many people and one day we’ll be able to give something back to all those that have helped George take his first steps. I owe you a box of tissues, methinks.

  4. carolinejamesauthor

    What an amazing little man. And family. Prayers and thoughts for his continued progress, thanks for sharing this xx

    • Thank you, Caroline. He’s restored a lot of people’s faith in human nature, mine especially. We’re determined George will walk alongside us when the family do the next Walk for George around Windsor Park.

  5. I follow your blog so cried the first time I read and viewed George’s video. Then again this morning but they are certainly tears of thankfulness. George is an inspiration, his life a motivation. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you, Lavada, for letting me share his progress here and also a big thank you too for all your support you’ve given to George. Hopefully before long he’ll be able to stand in front of the camera and say his own personal thank you to everyone. 🙂

  7. What an amazing little boy!! We will pray that he continues to improve. Thank you for sharing .

    • Children never cease to amaze me, Nancy, when faced with such trials and difficulties. They have a lot to teach us adults. And at last George and his mum and dad can start to enjoy life as a normal family now their prayers have been answered.

  8. Little George is certainly a huge inspiration, Kit. I’ve followed his story and never fail to be in awe of his amazing tenacity and courage. I’m crying happy tears after reading your post.

    • Well, Tricia, it’s all thanks to caring people like you that have helped George achieve so much. I wish you could meet him so he could give you a thank you hug and say thank you.

  9. such a wonderful thing for all those folks to assist so he could have this surgery. George sounds like quite a little trooper and a young lad with a strong desire to survive and thrive. Keep us updated on his progress.

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