Will you help us lift the cloud of limitation for children with cerebral palsy?
Hi. My name is Rachel Collie, I’m aged seven-and-a-half and I live in Burnside near Glasgow. Here’s my family’s Bobath story…
My twin sister, Louise, and I were born on September 23, 2004, in the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital. We should really have been in Mummy’s tummy for another 12 weeks, so we were both very small and weak.
My sister and I were in hospital for nine weeks. Mummy and Daddy have pictures of us with lots of wires and tubes. And there are lots of photos of my gran, my aunties, uncles and friends beside us in the special care unit.
I was eight months old when doctors told my parents I have cerebral palsy.
When I was two, my physiotherapist, Donna Kennedy – who works at the Southbank Centre in Rutherglen – told my mum about Bobath Scotland.
I started going to the centre for therapy and liked it straight away. Philip and Sandra at the centre always ask me what is important to me, and what I want to make better. Then, they find ways of helping me to do that.
You see, I have problems with my walking. My cerebral palsy means my legs do not do what I want them to do, which is why I use a frame or a chair.
I have many friends at Bobath who have cerebral palsy and they can’t talk, walk, or eat by themselves, but they all know how to smile. Some of my friends use their eyes to tell their parents if they are feeling happy or sad. So, I’m lucky, really, that it’s only my walking that is affected.
Every day, I wake up with new questions to ask my mum and dad, and Philip and Sandra at the therapy centre. They have explained that I’m not sick. I have cerebral palsy. It’s not an illness, and it affects different people in different ways.
My sister is my best friend. When I see her doing things, it makes me want to do things too. We both love to sing and dance. It just means that I have to dance on my knees, but that’s ok. Louise helps me to do things like get dressed, and always looks out for me in the school playground.
Every year since 2009, Louise and my family and friends have taken part in Rachel’s Welly Walk round Strathclyde Park to raise money to help Bobath Scotland give therapy to children like me. We’ve done lots of other things to help, too – and we’ve raised more than £20,000 for Bobath, which makes me really proud.
Louise and I have had our picture in the papers lots of times. I’ve also had my picture taken with famous people like Jackie Bird from the BBC and Steve McKenna from Real Radio. And I’ve met the Duchess of Gloucester at the Bobath centre twice. It’s cool.
I love going to my Bobath therapy sessions, and always look forward to them. Everyone is always smiling there, and there are loads of fun games to play. I know my Mummy and Daddy have questions too – and I know that the therapists at Bobath help them find the answers. I wish every child with cerebral palsy could visit Bobath.
Rachel is my twin sister and my best friend. We are identical in every way – except she has cerebral palsy.
We both go to Calderwood Primary. It’s a great school, with loads of activities and things to do. Even though Rachel has problems with walking, she takes part in them all. She was great in the Burns recital competition, and she’s a member of the Netball Nippers team and the cooking club.
Rachel and I both love helping mum in the kitchen with cooking and baking. That’s why I was really chuffed when Bobath opened its therapy kitchen in the new centre. Rachel and some other children we know will be going there soon to learn more about making meals and smoothies and things. The worktops go up and down to make it easier for her when she’s in her chair. She’ll love it.
Rachel is so funny and makes us all laugh. She can be a bit bossy, and always manages to get her own way when we’re playing! She is crafty that way.
Going to Bobath with Rachel, my mum and dad, my gran and aunts and uncles is great fun. And there are always lots of biscuits. I also get really excited about the events, like the Dragon Boats, which is a real laugh with all those silly costumes! And Bike for Bobath, and Rachel’s Welly Walk. All our friends love the welly walk.
I wish Rachel didn’t have cerebral palsy. I asked my mum if she wished that too. She thought for a while and said yes, but we can’t change that. I always thought she’d get better one day, but I know now that’s not possible with cerebral palsy.
Bobath helps Rachel to do things she thinks she can’t do, like brushing her teeth, or getting dressed. When she pretends to give in, I won’t let her, and she knows it.
If I had cerebral palsy, I don’t think I’d be as brave as Rachel. Everyone is so proud of her. She’s my sister, and I love her.