“Cerebral palsy means Gabby will be in physical therapy for the rest of her life”
Gabby was born 3 months premature as a twin. It wasn’t until she was a year old that doctors diagnosed her with the incurable condition, cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture. Vital functions that rely on motor skills and muscles including breathing, walking, talking, sitting, eating, playing, and learning can also be affected.
Spasticity, or muscle stiffness, make all movement difficult. As part of Gabby’s treatment plan, she had Botox injections into the muscles of her legs to loosen them. Botox helps by blocking the connection between nerves and muscles at the targeted site. This contributed to Gabby being able to strengthen her legs in physical therapy. After her injections, Gabby had to be serial cast for 4 weeks with her feet in a pointed position to stretch out the muscles. She walked with braces and went through the casting process 3 times between the ages of 5 and 8.
In the last few years, Gabby has had surgery to straighten her legs and although she is currently brace free, she has to re-learn to walk. Gabby works diligently every day to work out her leg muscles in hopes that she’ll get stronger. She goes to physical therapy once a week and will likely have to keep going for the rest of her life. Recently she started hippotherapy, a treatment for movement dysfunction that uses the characteristic gait of a horse to provide motor and sensory input. The participant is positioned on the horse and is influenced to actively respond to the horse’s natural movements.
Gabby is determined to not let her illness define her. At age 11, she enjoys writing and going to the beach. Her guilty pleasures include watching The Voice and Project Runway as well as listening to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” Kids Wish Network is planning a once-in-a-lifetime wish for Gabby; make sure to stay up to date by checking back soon for all of the amazing details!