In touching show of solidarity and friendship, a little boy opens a lemonade stand to help raise money for his best friend, who has cerebral palsy. Brayden’s cerebral palsy (CP) causes him to fall a lot when trying to keep up with the other boys at school. He has to wear leg braces, and his legs sort of drag behind him, which makes him trip and get mad at himself. When Brayden’s buddy Quinn went to physical therapy with him one day, his heart went out to his friend when he saw how painful the therapy was at times. That’s when Quinn decided he was going to do everything possible to help Brayden. There’s a very expensive surgery that Brayden’s family has been talking about that’s not offered anywhere in Canada. Quinn decided to build a lemonade stand to help raise money so that Brayden can travel to New Jersey to have selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), a fairly new, groundbreaking operation that reduces the tightness and spasticity caused by cerebral palsy.
Brayden and Quinn are Beaver Scouts and met 2 years ago when they were just 5. They immediately became friends, and every time Quinn walks into a room, Brayden squeals with delight. As Brayden and Quinn sat together in the lemonade stand outside a grocery store, wearing matching shirts, people bought lots of lemonade and gave generous donations. Quinn’s mother set up a website so people could donate there as well. Over $54,000 has been raised so far, thanks to the actions of a very caring best friend.
Brayden experienced a birth injury and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby. The cerebral palsy affects the little boy’s movement and muscle tone, so he struggles to keep up with his friends. Brayden’s muscles get tighter as he grows, making even simple activities difficult. It has been very hard for Brayden’s parents, Travis and Tony, to accept their son’s symptoms. The couple even discussed taking a loan out on their house. It is very hard for them to see their son seem to get worse with age. And when the little boy is tired, he can’t focus on his movement as much, making him trip and fall even more. Nonetheless, Brayden always has spirit and determination, doing grueling physical therapy sessions every single day.
Thanks to the generous donations, the family will take Brayden to New Jersey so he can get SDR and begin more aggressive physical therapy that will hopefully make movement a lot easier. Quinn says he’s excited for Brayden to have SDR so the boys can play more games together.
What is Cerebral Palsy And What Causes It?
Cerebral palsy occurs when there is an injury to certain parts of the brain while it is still developing. When motor centers in the brain get injured, there is a mix up of signals from the brain to the nerves to the muscles, causing a child to struggle with movement, posture, balance and coordination. Cerebral palsy affects each child differently. In some children, the CP is so bad that they can’t talk or control their bladder and are relegated to a wheelchair, unable to move their arms and legs. Other children may have 1, 2 or 3 limbs affected. Sometimes oral-facial muscles are impacted by cerebral palsy, making eating, drinking and speaking difficult.
Cerebral palsy is often caused by injuries that occur during or near the time of birth. Frequently, these birth injuries include damage to the brain caused by a lack of oxygen, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), infection that travels from the baby to the mother during delivery, and brain bleeds, hemorrhages and strokes caused by a traumatic delivery and use of vacuum extractors and forceps. Listed below are a few of the many conditions that can cause cerebral palsy.
Conditions that can cause cerebral palsy include the following:
- Placenta previa
- Ruptured uterus (womb)
- Preeclampsia / eclampsia
- Placental abruption
- Postmaturity syndrome
- Umbilical cord problems, such as a nuchal cord or umbilical cord prolapse
- Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM)/premature birth
- Failure to quickly deliver a baby when fetal distress is evident on the fetal heart rate monitor (delayed emergency C-section)
- Oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid)
- Anesthesia mistakes, which can cause blood pressure problems in the mother, including a hypotensive crisis
- Prolonged and arrested labor
- Fetal stroke
- Intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeds), which can be caused by a traumatic delivery. Forceps and vacuum extractors can cause brain bleeds. Sometimes intense contractions (hyperstimulation) caused by labor induction drugs (Pitocin and Cytotec) can cause head trauma. Mismanagement of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), abnormal presentations (face or breech presentation), and shoulder dystocia also put a child at risk of having a brain bleed.
- Hyperstimulation caused by Pitocin and Cytotec can also cause oxygen deprivation that gets progressively worse.
- Improper management of the baby’s respiratory status after birth. This includes failure to properly manage apnea (periods of breathing cessation), failure to properly manage a baby on a breathing machine (which can cause overventilation injuries, such as hypocarbia and a hole or holes in the lungs), and failure to give proper amounts of surfactant, which helps with lung maturity and lung compliance in premature lungs.
There are many other injuries that can damage a baby’s brain and cause cerebral palsy. These include:
- Improperly treated high bilirubin levels (jaundice) that cause a form of brain damage called kernicterus.
- Improperly treated neonatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
- Brain infection such as meningitis, which can be caused by infections in the mother that travel to the baby at birth. These maternal infections include the following: Group B Strep (GBS), herpes simplex virus (HSV), urinary tract infection (UTI), bacterial vaginosis (BV) and chorioamnionitis.
What Are the Treatments And Therapies For Cerebral Palsy?
There are numerous therapies and treatments that can help children who have cerebral palsy. Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) seems to be the most promising surgery for children who have spastic cerebral palsy, which is the most common type, affecting 70-90% of all children who have CP. Consistent and aggressive physical therapy is very important, and this can be done in the water, on a weight-bearing treadmill, with a NASA type space suit that forces muscles to work, and with therapy involving electrical stimulation. Below are some of the many treatments and therapies shown to provide benefits for children with cerebral palsy.
- Sports programs, such as Miracle League Baseball for children with just about any disability
- Activities such as swimming and horseback riding (hippotherapy)
- Occupational therapy
- CHAMP Program (Comprehensive Hand & Arm Movement Program)
- ACE Lab (Adaptive Cognitive Testing)
- Special camps
- Botox injections for tight muscles
- Surgery, such as selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR)
- Tendon release surgery
- Eye surgery for conditions such as strabismus
- Baclofen pump implantation to provide the child with continuous muscle relaxants
- Medications, such as seizure medication and oral muscle relaxants
- Conductive education
- Electrical stimulation
- Chiropractic Intervention
- Behavioral Therapy
- Sensory integration therapy
- Nutrition and diet plan counseling
- Aquatic therapy
- Adapted yoga
- Ventilator clinic
- Massage therapy
- Play therapy
- ULTRA Program (a task specific training program)
- Speech therapy
- Recreational therapy
- Physical therapy, which includes range of motion exercises, stretching, progressive resistance exercises, and postural and motor control exercises
- Animal therapy
Reiter & Walsh: Advocates For Children With Cerebral Palsy & Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) For Over 25 Years
When you need the help of a birth injury lawyer, it is very important to choose a lawyer and firm that focus solely on birth injury cases. Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers is a national birth injury law firm that has been helping children for decades.
Birth injury lawyer Jesse Reiter, president of the firm, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for more than 28 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Jesse is currently recognized as one of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2014, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The lawyers at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ).
If your child was diagnosed with a permanent disability, such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the award winning lawyers at ABC Law Centers can help. We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. Our nationally recognized firm has numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case. Email or call Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at 888-419-2229 for a free case evaluation. Our award winning lawyers are available 24/7 to speak with you.