Family Rallies Behind Brother to Help Provide for His Care for His Birth Injuries

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, formerly known as the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation, has many stories of families working together to improve the lives of their children with CP. One such family that read about the research that CFP does is the Kelly family of New York. Dillon, Shane, and Tatum Kelly are the siblings of Finn Kelly, who has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth.

Finn cannot walk or speak, making him one of the unfortunate children who has severe mental and physical trauma due to cerebral palsy. This condition can make it very difficult for children to live normal lives, especially in extreme cases like Finn’s. According to his siblings, Finn is a special, energetic kid who has the spirit to carry on with life. He is an avid swimmer and loves to play basketball. He even enjoys skiing, thanks to special skis that strap on to his wheelchair.

One day, Finn’s siblings came upon the work of the CPF, reading about the extensive research the organization has taken to remedy conditions in patients such as their little brother’s. The boys decided to take action for him.

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation aims to bring together the best medical institutions in the country with innovative thinking to develop and deliver the critical advances those suffering from CP need. They are making strides toward the eventual prevention of CP altogether, but their focus is to dramatically improve lives today. They hope to lower the age when parents and doctors recognize CP in small children, so that babies get early intervention and their parents can receive the proper financial and psychological support.

Dillon, Shane, and Tatum spent months collecting donations and hosting charity events, including a half-marathon, to raise money for CPF’s ongoing research into a cerebral palsy cure. Their grassroots donation drive started with friends, family and fellow members of their church, but soon the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (now CPF) put their story on its website and more donations began coming in. Dillon and his parents, Eleanor and Tim, ran the entire race, while Tatum and Shane took part in the last mile. Finn’s mother pushed him in his wheel chair for the final mile as well. The siblings managed to raise over $35,000 for CPF, benefiting the further study of Nanomedicine. Dillon says this came as a big surprise; that they never thought they would raise so much.

The fact that so many donations came from strangers was especially meaningful to the family. One such treatment that CPF researches is an anti-inflammatory medication that reduces white matter brain inflammation. This inflammation, which damages the white brain matter of premature infants, is a major cause of cerebral palsy. The goal of their studies is to determine whether they can effectively deliver the treatment by injection, its side effects, when it to deliver it, its effectiveness, and whether it can be used preventively.

If stem cell research in Nanomedicine is successful, hundreds of children just like Finn can receive the help they need. However, only time will tell if further treatments for CP will develop. The future looks hopeful for patients with cerebral palsy, but many children still suffer from its physical and emotional side effects.

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation has many other initiatives which give hope to children, adults, and their families. They conduct research into the genetic causes of CP, in hopes to reduce its impact. They are also studying juveniles to better understand dysfunction in the developing brains of children with CP. Robotic therapeutic strategies could benefit children with hemiplegic CP, which affects one side of their bodies. Another study focused on hemiplegic CP investigates how maladaptive plasticity, which is a non-typically developed brain, may affect motor deficits in these children. A better understanding of this could aid in the design of new therapies. Studies into speech treatment could aid in academic advancement, and social and emotional development for these children.

Some brain injuries result from reduced blood and oxygen to a baby’s brain at the time of birth. CPF is studying how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can measure tissue health and blood flow in deep brain structures. The hope is that advanced MRI tools will prevent or ease disabilities due to CP. Yet another innovative process which gives families hope is CPF’s research, along with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia, into the use of Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) to study brain injuries affecting the basal ganglia.

These injuries often result from low oxygen or genetic disorders. The donations raised by Finn’s family went to fund this research, as well as many other advanced treatment studies.

Did your child suffer a birth injury and develop cerebral palsy? Cerebral Palsy LLC can help. Based in Chicago, we represent clients in birth injury cases across the United States. Contact us today to receive a free case evaluation.