A few weeks before Christmas last year, Christie received a letter confirming her daughter, Elise, has cerebral palsy. Here she explains how isolated she felt and how she couldn’t stop worrying about her daughter’s future. Thankfully Christie reached out to Scope, and she found the support she needed.
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Whether or not you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ll understand why I wanted Christmas to be amazing for my daughter, Elise – especially after everything we’d been through.
Elise, who was born prematurely at 33 weeks, was really sick as a baby. She wasn’t meeting her developmental milestones. At nearly one, she wasn’t sitting up.
Just before last Christmas, I got a letter confirming Elise has cerebral palsy.
I was devastated – I thought Elise’s life was over before it had even started. I couldn’t stop worrying about her.
Would Elise ever walk? Would she go to school? Would anyone look beyond the wheelchair and see what an amazing little girl she is? Would she have any friends? Would she be able to get a job in the future?
I tried to talk to my family and friends, but I felt like no one understood. I ended up trying to hide my fears. That Christmas, I was in a dark place. Even though I was with people who cared about me, I felt completely alone.
Sometimes I felt like I wanted to lock us both away.
I was at my lowest point when I called Scope’s helpline. I was anxious all the time and I avoided other people. I didn’t want to take Elise out because I thought people would stare and ask questions. The first time I took her out in a wheelchair, I cried. It felt like everybody was looking at her.
I tried to be cheerful for Elise, but of course it affected her. At her age, most toddlers are going to playgroups and having play dates. But we weren’t.
It’s only thanks to people like you that things changed for us, because your gifts mean caring, knowledgeable people are just a phone call away.
Step by step, Scope has transformed the way I feel – supporting me to be the mum Elise needed.
When I called Scope’s helpline, I finally talked to someone who understood what I was going through. It meant the world to me.
I’ve started to enjoy Elise’s achievements, instead of worrying about what other children can do at her age. When she started sitting up on her own, it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I was so happy.
If I hadn’t called Scope, I would still be terrified of the future and I’d be avoiding going out. Elise would be missing out on so much. And the world would be missing out on Elise – she is such a happy, wonderful little girl.
This year, I’m actually looking forward to Christmas.
With Scope’s support, I’ve come such a long way – I can now look forward to something instead of fearing the future. This is a precious, life-changing gift you could give a family like mine this Christmas.
Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas.
Christie’s story shows that lives can be changed for the better with the right support. With a donation today, you could help ensure Christmas isn’t the loneliest day for the 4000 families expected to turn to Scope for support over the festive period.