Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit more about Gabriel and his family.
Gabriel was born in 2009 with a brain injury of an unknown cause. As a result Gabriel has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. For him, this is a very severe physical disability that affects his life in so many ways.
Physically, Gabriel cannot control the muscles in his body like you or I can. The signals from the brain do not communicate properly with his muscles. A simple thing like lifting his hand or arm can take minutes or prove impossible. Gabriel also suffers from the fluctuations in his muscle tone, in other words his muscles can go from being extremely tense to extremely floppy. As a result he is unable to support his own weight sitting or standing and requires supportive equipment at all times. The number of devices we have for Gabriel grows all of the time, in order to allow his body to grow and develope with as few deformities as possible. These devices include: chairs, standers, walkers, and special trailers or buggies for different terrain.
Gabriel's cerebral palsy has also resulted in an inability to eat orally, therefor all of his many medications and liquid nutrition are fed to him via a Gastrostomy port, directly into his stomach.
Gabriel is unable to communicate verbally, but as they say, a smile says it all. He says a lot through facial expressions as well as eye pointing to choices we give him. Together with his therapists and teachers, we are working to help Gabriel develope the skills to hopefully one day operate a computerised communication device with his eyes.
Despite Gabriel's inabilities, he has many interests and loves interaction and spending time with others. Some of these interests include music, arts & crafts, cooking, baking, sports, television and games. He will always need 1:1 support to engage in these activities but he shows his willingness and pride in many activities.
As Gabriel grows, we realise that the home he shares with his parents and two brothers is not equipped to meet his needs. Gabriel needs a bedroom and a shower room on the ground floor. Those who care for him need this too, as lifting a big boy like Gabriel up the stairs isn't easy or safe for either of them. Our intention is to extend minimally in order to create a much needed shower room off of a ground floor room that can become his bedroom. We also hope that this new arrangement will allow for the storage of the many pieces of equipment he needs.
Unfortunatley choosing a family car isn't even straightforward for us any more. Because Gabriel is wheelchair bound, a wheel chair accessible vehicle (or WAV) is a necessary change. Aquiring a vehicle like this, even though sacrificing some of his DLA through the Motability scheme, will require a substantial downpayment by us.
These are the major changes for us that are on the immediate horizon. No doubt we will face similar financial challenges in the future too. Unfortunately everything that comes under the "special" umbrella also comes with a very high price tag.
We appreciate that all families face financial challenges, however, if you think you can help us, even just a little bit, Gabriel and his family will be eternally grateful to you for your support.
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