Youngster Raising Awareness Of Condition As Part of World CP Day
The mum of a youngster from Liversedge living with cerebral palsy has spoken out on his “remarkable” return to school as they support a major awareness day.
Zach Eagling was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was three, after suffering a brain injury at birth. His condition means he has difficulties with his mobility and cognitive development, and he requires specialist care and equipment to enable him in his day-to-day life. He also lives with epilepsy.
Since his diagnosis, specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have helped him and his family, including mum Claire Keer, access specialist therapies and support they require to help Zach live life as best he can. As he gets older, he will also be supported by the firm’s Court of Protection team.
He recently returned to Battyeford Primary School in Mirfield, following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, and has enjoyed his first few weeks in year five. Zach and Claire are now joining with their legal team in supporting World Cerebral Palsy Day on 6 October to raise awareness of the condition and how it affects Zach.
Expert Opinion“Zach’s cheery and positive attitude never ceases to amaze me.
He inspired so many people with his fund-raising walk during lockdown and the money he raised was incredible. He returned to school last month and while he has physical difficulties, he is bright and eager to learn.
With World Cerebral Palsy Day around the corner, Zach and Claire are keen to raise awareness of the help and support available to people affected by the condition, and demonstrate how disability shouldn’t be a barrier to people from achieving their dreams.”
Rachelle Mahapatra - Partner
Zach was born at full term following an uncomplicated pregnancy. He was pale and floppy and required resuscitation. However, there were problems intubating Zach and it took around 10 minutes before he was ventilated. He was then transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and ventilated for two days.
Zach was three-years-old when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He regularly sees a speech and language therapist and occupational therapist, as well as a physiotherapist to help with his mobility.
Earlier this year, Zach started walking independently without the use of his frame. In June, he successfully completed 130 laps of his garden as part of the 2.6 Challenge, a nationwide fundraising event held this year in place of the London Marathon. He finished the laps on his ninth birthday and raised more than £11,500 for the Epilepsy Society, citing Captain Tom Moore as his inspiration.
Sadly, throughout his challenge, internet trolls posted malicious tweets with flashing images on the Epilepsy Society’s social pages, with the intention of triggering seizures in those affected. The charity is now campaigning for this type of behaviour to be criminalised under Zach’s Law as part of the Government’s Online Harms Bill.
Zach is determined to “rise above” the abuse.
His mum Claire said: “Zach’s cerebral palsy diagnosis was such a shock at first, and I was absolutely devastated to learn that he would face so many difficulties as a result.
“However, he has gone above and beyond what anyone ever expected. He is such a bubbly and happy boy, and doesn’t let his speech problems stop him from communicating, in particular when we were having issues with the trolls. Zach was deeply upset by it, but he was determined to rise above it and not let them win. We are so pleased to be a part of Zach’s Law so we can help put an end to the abuse and stop anyone else from going through this.
“More recently, Zach has made a remarkable return to school. Recently, he has been using technology packages to assist with his school work, in particular Maths which he is really good at but is hampered by his struggles with writing. The technology helps him keep up with his classmates.
“World Cerebral Palsy Day is the perfect time to share Zach’s story to raise awareness of the condition and highlight the help out there.”
World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day is on 6 October. The aim of the awareness 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.