An eight-year-old brave girl with cerebral palsy has been nominated for an award at the ITV National Diversity Awards. Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson, from Louth, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy after a traumatic delivery, three months premature. Her mother Vicky Hadley has had to continuously raise funds for Leonie’s treatment because her condition is so critical that operation is not yet started by the NHS. This is her inspiring story of bravery and struggle.
A Brave Girl with Cerebral Palsy
Leonie experienced a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery in 2019 to decrease muscle stiffness, in the faith that one day she will finally be able to walk, compensated for by money raised through fundraising. Her mother said that striving to raise money for her daughter’s health, while continuously giving her the comfort she requires has been difficult.
“When I first found out it was a massive shock but we’ve just had to get on with it,” she said.
Living in Louth, it’s much difficult as there’s nothing around. She requires physiotherapy but we do a lot of it ourselves also. The NHS made funding accessible for the SDR operation for the lowest hardness because it’s not feasible for people like Leonie.
Before the surgery, she could only rest on the floor and move her head. Right after the surgery, she could move her legs, she could even sit up and hardly drag. It’s much depressing as I’m continuously bothering about the funds running out and having to steadily fundraise.
The monthly costs for Leonie’s physiotherapy are £1,000. Her surgery requires thousands and she’s expected to have another one. We’ve had to purchase all her stuff and currently, she requires a new seat to help her sit up.
“I’m terrified the funds will run out and she’ll be left in limbo, which would be disastrous because she’s come so far.”
Leonie was nominated for the award by a young boy from the south of England named Peter who, after finding her story online, chose to devote his school project to Leonie’s effort and her courage.
Vicky said that she is astounded every day at Leonie’s courage and said that the nomination ‘means everything’.
She said: “Leonie goes to a mainstream school, she went to the nursery. She’s so well-liked and funny and has always been a total trooper.”
When Vicky learned about the nomination she burst into tears. It means so much that her courage has been acknowledged. It’s like she’s done all this before, she just gets on with it.
Vicky asks people to vote for Leonie. She’s come through so much and will continue to require support. We need to increase recognition of the truth that people with Leonie’s ailment aren’t getting any financial aid.
“It does make me hopeless when I see NHS money spent on people having nose jobs and boob jobs because they’re pessimistic with how they look, and yet my daughter is living in agony and is desperate for an operation,” Vicky said.
Leonie’s mom says she is confident about the courage of her daughter and if she wins, they will be able to enlighten this issue worldwide.