Babies with cerebral palsy to get life-changing therapy thanks to South Wales Freemasons

Thursday, 03 February 2022

Sixty-six babies who have, or are at risk of having, cerebral palsy will be receiving specialist and potentially life-changing therapy, thanks to a grant of £59,400 from South Wales Freemasons to Cerebral Palsy Cymru

South Wales Freemasons are funding 22 babies each year over three years, who have or who are at risk of having cerebral palsy, to have a specialist therapy consultation at Cerebral Palsy Cymru, along with support for their families. By the end of the three years, including family members, the Freemasons will have directly supported around 200 individuals in Wales.

The therapy will take place during the first two years of life, when the brain is at its most plastic and adaptable. It is crucial that a baby who has cerebral palsy, or who is at high risk, receives specialist therapy as early as possible during this time, when the possibilities for significant positive change, such as being able to crawl, walk and communicate are at their greatest. If missed, this window of opportunity cannot be regained.

Families can refer themselves or be referred to this service by health professionals. There is no charge for this service as these families are often already socially and economically disadvantaged. Some of the babies that will benefit are yet to be born.

Cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder of posture and movement resulting from brain damage before, during, or up to two years after birth. It can affect a child’s movement, sensation, perception, cognition, communication and eating and drinking. In some children, all these functions are affected.

Research shows cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood, with approximately 70 babies born and diagnosed with the condition each year in Wales. The current UK incident rate is around one in 400 births and there are an estimated 30,000 children living with cerebral palsy in the UK.

The grant from South Wales Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Emma Brooks, Acting Head of Fundraising at Cerebral Palsy Cymru, said: 'We’re very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their generous grant. The specialist therapy for these children they are funding will take place during the first two years of life when there is the greatest possibility of having a positive impact on their condition. It’s no exaggeration to say that the specialist support and therapy that we can provide them is likely to be life-changing.'

Robert Payne from South Wales Freemasons, said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Cerebral Palsy Cymru with their excellent programme of therapy for children living with cerebral palsy. These babies will have the best possible start in life and the greatest opportunity to reach their potential.'

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