Martin Lepant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (spastic diplegia) in 2008 at the age of 2. He suffered brain damage around the time of his birth, mainly around the parts which control leg movement and coordination. As a result, he has excessive stiffness in the leg muscles which affects his mobility and balance although he also has issues with fine motor skills, such as writing.
Martin started taking a few steps around the age of 4. Through weekly physiotherapy, various interventions and the use of leg braces - all of which The Peterson's Fund for Children helped us with - he is now able to walk independently although his walking pattern remains clumsy, often causing him to lose his balance and fall. His clumsy gait also causes him to fatigue very quickly so he can only walk short distances.
In October 2015, Martin underwent a major operation called "Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy". This surgery helps reduce muscle stiffness by cutting some nerve fibres which run from the muscles back to the spinal cord. Following surgery, Martin's leg muscles became very weak and he could barely stand. He was therefore given an intensive two-year physiotherapy programme which is designed to develop strength in his legs, increase the range of movement in his legs, develop better leg movement, and improve walking.
Unfortunately, the NHS only partly funds this programme so we constantly have to turn to the private sector for additional input. We are very lucky to be able to do this thanks once again to the support of the Peterson's Fund for Children. The charity has not only enabled us to turn to the private sector for additional physiotherapy and physical exercise but also for some essential equipment which the NHS cannot provide.
As a result, Martin has made tremendous progress. We know that he hasn’t yet reached his full potential but we hope to be able to continue to put everything in place to enable Martin to improve further.
We are in no doubt that the Peterson’s Fund for Children has largely contributed to Martin's success story and are immensely grateful to the charity and its donors for both their generosity and emotional support.
- Written by Celine (Martin's Mum)