Blaise breaks new ground
RIDING a bike is a big achievement for many young children, but for Blaise Wyatt it was a miraculous moment.
The three-year-old spent a month in the United States receiving ground-breaking treatments for his severe cerebral palsy, and managed to achieve tasks for the first time including sitting, standing, and even riding a special tricycle.
Mother Dawn Mackenzie-Wyatt said the trip to Michigan had been extremely beneficial for her son, who suffers spastic quadraplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that affects all his limbs.
"He can sit up now," Ms Mackenzie-Wyatt said, as Blaise showed off his new skill by sitting up on his picnic blanket in the family's Ipswich backyard.
"His back muscles are so much stronger because of the Thera-Suit, and he is also a lot noisier and can reach out and grab for things.
"It was so worth it."
Blaise undertook therapies including the intensive muscle-strengthening Thera-Suit, a whole body suit featuring adjustable straps.
He also underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy, an unrecognised therapy aimed at creating new pathways in the brain.
"He did 60 hours of Thera-Suit therapy, 40 hours of hyperbaric oxygen and nine hours of speech therapy," Ms Mackenzie-Wyatt said.
"One of the first days he was in the Thera-Suit they had him up and walking, it took my breath away," she said.
"It worked out to about seven hours of therapy a day plus travel."
Ms Mackenzie-Wyatt said the 22 days of therapy had helped to fulfil the family's aim of treating Blaise's cerebral palsy symptoms before they impeded his physical development.
"We wanted to seek treatment for him early, before his bones started to bend or anything like that, and I think the cominbation of everything we did worked amazingly well," Ms Mackenzie-Wyatt said.
"The other day I walked past while someone else was holding him and he reached out to grab for me, which he's never been able to do before."
Blaise travelled to the US with his family, including dad Cameron and brother Corey, on the day before his April 1 birthday.
The family fundraised extensively for the month-long threapy-focussed trip, which cost about $20,000.
Ms Mackenzie-Wyatt said they would now save to purchase a Thera-Suit for Blaise, which is priced at $2500.
Find out more about Blaise's progress by liking the Believe in Blaise Facebook page.