The family of a three-year-old girl from Norwich with cerebral palsy have spoken out about how their fund-raising efforts help pay for specialist treatment to ensure she can get the best out of life.
Harper Sharrocks was born in September 2016 and was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects the control of movement in her arms and legs.
The condition means that Harper requires specialist care to enable her to live a normal life. She is also supported by her family and, with World Cerebral Palsy Day being held on 6 October, they are speaking out about the condition and how they have been fund-raising in aid of their daughter.
Following Harper’s diagnosis, her mum Natasha and dad Stephen, both 33, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care provided during Natasha’s pregnancy and the delivery of Harper.
Expert Opinion“Harper is a lovely little girl who faces a lot of challenges in her day-to-day life as a result of her cerebral palsy.
However, she has such amazing support from Natasha, Stephen and the rest of the family who have organised a number of events to raise the money needed to pay for her treatment.
We are currently investigating what caused Harper to develop cerebral palsy and if anything could have been done to prevent it.
In the meantime, with World Cerebral Palsy Day approaching, we hope that by sharing her story we will raise awareness of the condition and the support available.”
Sarah Wealleans - Associate Solicitor
Harper was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was eight-months-old. All of her four limbs are affected. She has also suffered from poor eyesight since birth but this has improved.
Natasha and Stephen revealed they were told by a physiotherapist that Harper may need leg splints and a walking frame when she is older. There is also a possibility she will require a wheelchair to get about and she will get her first one in a few weeks.
To help their daughter deal with daily life as best she can, Natasha and Stephen began fund-raising in January last year. They have hosted events including a 150-mile cycle ride, wrestling event, country music night and an online auction with the profits being used to pay for Harper’s Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery. This helps correct muscle spasticity.
Stephen, who works as a manager for a battery company, said: “We were extremely worried when we first heard about Harper’s condition and it is distressing to know that she is not achieving the same milestones as other children her age. But we love her more than anything and do not want her growing up thinking that she can’t do something.
“While we can’t turn back the clock, we are determined to find out why this happened to Harper and we also want to make sure she has access to the best treatment out there so she can have the best life possible.
“Our family and friends are a great support to us, and we are so grateful for all the help with our fund-raising. It means our beautiful girl has a much bigger chance at a normal life than she had before.
“We were told she may never walk, talk or crawl, but she has shown such determination and is now crawling. We are so incredibly proud of her and wanted to share her story as part of World Cerebral Palsy Day so others can see that you can achieve anything.”
He added of their fund-raising: “We have currently raised almost £40,000 so we are nearly halfway towards our target. The SDR operation will take place in America, and the funds raised will also go towards at least a year of intense physiotherapy for Harper afterwards.
“Our next big event is a charity ball at Barnham Broom Hotel hosted by Zak Knight from the Hollywood movie Fighting With My Family.”
World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day is on Sunday, 6 October. The aim of the awareness raising day is to ensure that children and adults with cerebral palsy have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society.
There are an estimated 30,000 children with cerebral palsy in the UK. It is often caused by injuries during birth and leaves those affected with varying conditions that affect muscle control and movement. They may also have learning difficulties, epilepsy and communication difficulties.
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