This is Austynn. A six-year-old with a gorgeous smile, a goofy personality, and a caring heart. She’s also a fighter, but not in the way you might think. When Austynn was two years old, she was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, which affects body movement on her right side.
Cerebral palsy is not a disease, but rather a condition that is a result of damage to the brain usually caused before birth. It does not progress; instead, it is permanent and chronic. Children diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy find out the severity of their condition as they grow up and learn what areas are affected.
“Austynn wasn’t hitting her age appropriate milestones as an infant,” explained Austynn’s mother, Tiffany. “At five months old, she would roll everywhere to the left. You could tell she really wanted to get moving, but couldn’t crawl or even hold herself in position. At six months old, she wasn’t able to sit on her own, and in bouncy seats or walkers she would only use her left foot to push off with so we set her up with a physical therapist.”
Austynn received her first right ankle foot orthotic at 21 months to help her correct her skeletal alignment, reduce knee hyperextension, and increase stability to her foot and ankle. Now, at six, she continues to have both physical and occupational therapy multiple times a week. The therapies range from equine that increases physical strength to cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on the ways that a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors are connected and how they affect one another.
“She works very hard every day to keep up with her peers. She spends countless hours in therapies working on basic skills and tasks so she can be this so called ‘normal.’ Each child is their own little person with their own abilities and deficiencies so I have come to hate the word normal,” described Tiffany.
But the treatments came at a very high price, as medical costs for children with Cerebral Palsy are over ten times higher than children without. Recognizing this, the Save of the Day Foundation was happy to help Austynn and her family.
“The monetary donation we received from the Save of the Day Foundation means the world to us,” said Tiffany. “We can finally stop worrying about he we are going to pay for Austynn’s medical and physical therapy bills that accrued over the last four years and focus on getting Austynn into new activities and therapies.”