Category Archives: Stories

Australian Girl with Cerebral Palsy Takes Her Dream to New Heights in China

By Xiong Maoling
Via XinhuaNet

Supported by a walking aid and wrapped in a raincoat, Taylor Walker-Lear took another break during her hike on the Great Wall and peered at the amazing view through one of its dented parts.
“Is it worth it?” Taylor’s mother Toni Elford asked her. “Yeah, it is,” Taylor replied without hesitation.

For this 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, June 6 was the day she had been eagerly looking forward to for more than a year. In March 2016, Taylor and her family climbed to the summit of the highest mountain in Australia, Mount Kosciuszko. When her mother asked about her next goal, she said: “Mount Everest might be a little too hard right now, but maybe the Great Wall.”

On Tuesday, with the help of her walking aid, the support of her parents and sponsor, and accompanied by a group of primary school volunteers from Beijing, Taylor realized her Chinese dream by successfully climbing the Mutianyu Great Wall despite the rainy and chilly weather.

Walking on the wall might sound like an easy feat for some, but for Taylor, it’s much more difficult. Step by step, she moved forward slowly yet steadily, with incredible strength and determination for a girl of her age and condition. Whenever she encountered steep stairs, her parents lifted her and held her, encouraging her to keep going.

A Little Aussie Girl’s Chinese Dream

Taylor’s journey started near Watch Tower No. 14, somewhere in the middle of the Mutianyu Great Wall, a part that was built by General Xu Da in the early Ming Dynasty, more than 600 years ago. It was mainly used for military defense.

During her short stay in the dim and cramped tower, Taylor attentively listened to the guide, trying to learn more about the profound history of the Great Wall. From a little window, Taylor popped out her head to take in the magnificent view.

“It’s different than I expected, different in a good way,” Taylor told Xinhua. “It’s amazingly beautiful.”

There is something about China that attracts Taylor, even though she can’t exactly say what it is. “It’s a magical appeal,” Taylor’s father Simon said.


Aquatic Movement Therapy Seen to Stimulate Brain Activity and Improve Well-Being of CP Patients

By Joana Fernandes, PHD

Via Cerebral Palsy News Today
Assisted aquatic movement therapy may improve the mental health and stimulate the brains of children and adults with cerebral palsy (CP), according to a new study.

The study, “Effects Of Assisted Aquatic Movement And Horseback Riding Therapies On Emotion And Brain Activation In Patients With Cerebral Palsy,” was published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

Previous studies have shown that assisted movement therapies decrease muscle stiffness and improve movement in CP patients, as well as bringing psychological benefits. But studies showing the relationship between therapeutic interventions and patients’ emotional and cognitive response to them are still lacking.

The study enrolled 32 right-handed CP patients, ages 8 to 48, to investigate the effect of assisted aquatic movement and horseback riding therapies on emotion and brain activation. Patients, representing CP disease stages from 1 to 3 (patients able to walk independently or with the help of a hand-held mobility device), were assigned to either the aquatic therapy group (AATG), the horseback riding group (HRTG), or a control group.

In AATG, patients performed warm-up exercises in a pool for 10 minutes, then did assisted exercises for 30 minutes (for instance, floating on the water in a sitting posture and walking backward and forward). The session closed with 10 minutes of simple, cool-down exercises.

HRTG was also 50 minutes long, consisting of warm-up exercises, a slow increase in speed then continued riding at a steady speed for 30 minutes, then a slow decrease in speed followed by a five-minute cool down.

Patients in the control group watched a movie for 50 minutes.


Woman with Cerebral Palsy Gets Dream Opportunity with Disney Show

Via Fox Newsinsight_game_jess_jordan_ss1_28584471_0

A non-verbal Disney enthusiast may see her fairytale ending come to life after landing a chance to pitch her story ideas to the creators of Disney Junior’s “Doc McStuffin’s” TV Show. Erin Feeney, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, learned of her unique opportunity after attending the Disney on Ice show “Follow Your Heart” in Chicago, Fox 5 NY reported.

The show’s writer, Shea Fontana, met with 25-year-old Feeney after the show and told her she had read her work before coming to Chicago. Feeney’s book, “Kids in Toyland,” was recently made into a prize-winning movie short, Fox 5 NY reported. Fontana called Feeney talented, and said “Doc McStuffin’s” would be a great fit for her ideas.

“’Doc McStuffin’s’ is all about kids having this acceptance, and realizing that no matter what, no matter what life throws at them, they can follow their dreams,” Fontana told Fox 5 NY.



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