Watching the video of six-year-old Taylor Welch of Pontypool, her wheelchair almost becomes irrelevant.
This young lady is all about ability, and her mischievous, fun-loving nature come across very clearly in her ear-to-ear grin.
Some would wonder what Taylor has to smile about. Born 12 weeks premature in August of 2011, she spent her first month in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Sick Kids Hospital and the following month in a similar unit at the Oshawa hospital. Her birth, while early, presented no complications and doctors were puzzled by what had prompted her early arrival.
Eventually medical staff determined that the one side of her brain was covered with cysts and parents Derek and Meredith within six months Taylor was officially diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. This is a blanket term describes a neurological disorder resulting in the loss or impairment to motor function which is caused by a brain injury or malformation occuring while the child’s brain is under development either before, during or immediately after birth. The condition affects body movement, muscle control, coordination and tone, reflex, posture and balance and can also impact motor skills and oral motor functioning. Because it stems from irreversible damage or malformation of the brain, the situation of each patient is unique, however for all victims the condition is permanent.
Taylor’s treatment focuses on increasing her mobility and includes extensive physiotherapy as well as multiple botox injections every three months to alleviate the stiffness associated with the condition. She has also undergone double hip reconstruction surgery after x-rays showed that her hips were out of their sockets, which required a ten week hospital stay.
The summer after Taylor started school at Grandview in Bethany, her parents applied for her to receive special surgery available in the U.S. and in January, they learned of her acceptance. She will receive a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) Procedure in St. Louis this fall, performed by an experienced surgeon who believes it will enable Taylor to walk using a walker. This potentially life-changing surgery comes with a hefty price tag: the surgery, physio, mobility equipment and rehabilitation costs are projected to top $150,000. If you’ve seen Taylor’s video, you will understand that the cost will not prevent her determined parents from ensuring Taylor has this procedure.
Taylor is a go-getter, and her parents have helped her develop that attitude. She skis, skates, swims, rides horses and does housework thanks to the dedication of her parents. With a snow shovel attached to her wheelchair, Taylor happily shovels the driveway. She also finds ways to have fun in her chair, running it through piles of raked leaves and racing over bumps for the thrill of the ride.
Parents Meredith and Derek hope this surgery will give her more independence as well as the mobility to take a more active role with her friends. There are a variety of fundraising efforts to support the family, including a GoFundMe page, (WWW.GOFUNDME.COM/TAYLORS-JOURNEY-TO-WALK), a paint night in Pontypool, (www.paintnite.com/events/_1174949) and the family has a Facebook page. Any doubts about this young family’s ability to meet the challenge will quick disappear after watching their moving youtube video, which can be found at ww.youtube.com/watch?v=s8obuJSahb0. KG