Oakdale couple hope to raise £100,000 for baby girl's treatment

Campaign Series: Oakdale parents Kelsey and Leigh Hemms with baby Ayla-Mae who has spastic-quadriplegic cerebral palsy Oakdale parents Kelsey and Leigh Hemms with baby Ayla-Mae who has spastic-quadriplegic cerebral palsy

AN OAKDALE couple are hoping to raise £100,000 to help their disabled baby girl to one day walk and communicate with them.

Little Ayla-Mae Hemms, aged 15 months, suffers spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and is also profoundly deaf. She needs to learn sign language, but she is unable to do so because of her condition.

Her parents, Leigh Hemms, 23, who works for Wales and West Utilities, and Kelsey Jenkins, 21, Ayla-Mae’s full-time carer, want to set up a charity in their daughter’s name to send her to America to receive a life changing operation which could help her walk.

The ambitious couple hope to not only help their daughter, but in the long-term use the charity to help other children across the UK who suffer from varying forms of cerebral palsy.

When she was diagnosed, doctors told them that as Ayla-Mae suffers from the more severe form of the illness, which affects all four limbs, she will probably not be able to walk and will need constant care for the rest of her life.

Mr Hemms said: “We knew something was not right early on. She couldn’t lift her head and her legs were in a constant scissor-like position. We did some research and looked into the symptoms ourselves. But still, when the doctors told us when she was eight months old, it was heart-breaking.”

Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe type of cerebral palsy, and is caused by extensive damage to the brain. Children suffering from it often have a high degree of stiffness in all their limbs, and may be unable to walk. Their neck muscles are often very loose and they may have problems supporting their head and children with the illness often find speaking difficult, and may have moderate to severe learning difficulties. But Ayla-Mae’s parents remain hopeful.

Mr Hemms said: “She doesn’t have the other signs of mental disability that often come with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy – she’s very switched on, she recognises things, and she smiles all the time, which isn’t typical of children with this illness.”

The couple are setting up the charity to help fund treatment for Ayla-Mae. But to be able to register as a proper charity, they first need to raise £5,000. Once they are registered, they hope raising money for Ayla will become much easier as they will be able to reach out to big companies which will help them get involved in big events.

The couple say their first steps will be getting Ayla-Mae more physiotherapy, as currently she only gets one hour a month through the NHS. They hope physio and treatment will help loosen her hands, which she needs to learn sign language.

To donate, visit gofundme.com/5fm48g or facebook.com/aylamae.hemms

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