Variety Kid Ella has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Through Variety, she has received physical therapy and various pieces of equipment, and has also attended Variety Adventure Camp as well as our Family Celebration Day.
Ella’s mom, Ashley, recently shared what a day in Ella’s life is like from a parent’s point of view.
Here is her story, in her own words:
Ella is like any other 5-year-old girl. She loves princesses, baby dolls, anything pink, Captain America, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Blues. She loves playing with her cousins, neighbors and friends. She loves to eat popcorn, chocolate, Oreos, chicken and pizza. She goes to afternoon pre-k five days a week and will be starting kindergarten next year.
Ella, however, has cerebral palsy and, while she is similar in many ways to her peers, she is also different.
Her muscles are very tight and she spends one morning a week in physical therapy to help build strength to walk and to keep her muscles loose. Ella sees many doctors and, on mornings where she isn’t in therapy, she may be at a doctor’s appointment to monitor her health.
On days when Ella doesn’t have physical therapy or an appointment, her days are pretty typical. After school, Ella likes to play outside with her neighbors either before or after dinner. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, she loves to play hide-n-seek or cook with her play kitchen. She, again, seems to be a pretty typical 5-year-old.
Throughout the day, however, her dad and I have to stretch her legs, arms and hands to keep her muscles loose. We do strengthening exercises to help build her core muscles. Some of this can be blended in with play, some of it cannot. All of the stretching and strengthening is done with the hope that one day Ella will walk independently. It also allows her body to grow without pain and encourage her joints to develop properly. Her high muscle tone interferes with the way her joints should grow and form. She also receives physical therapy and occupational therapy at school – where she also stretches and does strengthening exercises.
All of this is done so that Ella can grow pain-free and live the most independent life she can.
Ella works hard every day and always has a smile on her face. She hopes one day to grow up to be a ballerina, Captain America, an astronaut and a princess. We hope to help her achieve all her dreams!