Posted by Alison and Claire on 12 June 2013
The sun was shining on our paediatric amputee support day, Pushing the Boundaries, in Liverpool on Friday when children with limb loss due to meningococcal septicaemia met up to play while their families took advantage of all the expert information on offer. Many of the children hadn’t met others their own age with amputations from septicaemia, so it was a great opportunity to join in and not feel like “the odd one out”.
At the Alder Sports Centre in the morning the children were greeted with a balloon man who made everything from a monkey climbing a coconut tree to a giant purple octopus! Needless to say this kept the younger children occupied whilst we heard some truly inspirational stories from amputees such as Steve Johnson, international footballer and former paralympian, and Aaron Phipps who shared his story about losing his legs to meningococcal septicaemia at 15 to then go on to become part of Team GB at London 2012.
Several exhibitors attended the day and there were information stands from Dorset Orthopaedic, Otto Bock, Ossur and RSL Steeper. There was also a representative from Limb Power on hand for families to talk to about sporting opportunities.
Children who have amputations as result of septicaemia often face particular complications with skin and bone growth that do not affect other types of amputees and this can make rehabilitation for these particular children challenging. So whilst Everton in the Community coaches kept the children occupied throughout the afternoon with some great games of football and sitting volleyball, the parents heard from a panel of experts about the disease and its after effects, management of scarring, infections, contractures and distorted bone growth, the psychological effects of disease and issues surrounding how to access the care.
The afternoon lectures at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital were full of really practical information and one grandparent said “I’ve learned more today than I have in the whole three years since my granddaughter was affected by the disease.” All in all this day was a great opportunity for everyone to learn about amputation rehabilitation from experts and from the people who know best – each other.
Everyone left smiling, having made new friends, and importantly feeling empowered and positive about the future. On leaving to go home Nick Crockatt summed the day up well, saying “I wish there had been a day like this five years ago when my daughter was first affected. Brilliant day, when are you doing it again?”