Scarlett, who has spastic bilateral cerebral palsy, is full of cheeky smiles and enthusiasm. She lives with her mum, Belinda, twin sister Emily and spends a lot of time with her dad and older sister, Jessica. Scarlett’s mum, Belinda, tells their story:
“Scarlett and Emily were born at 32 weeks after I developed twin-twin transfusion syndrome during my pregnancy. They weighed just over 3lb and spent 8 weeks in special care. Scarlett is proud to say that she is the eldest, having been born just before Emily.
I realised early on that Scarlett’s development was not progressing at the same rate as Emily’s. She wasn’t able to sit up on her own or crawl, and her legs crossed over one another. When Scarlett was one, we had the official diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
Life with cerebral palsy
Since then, I have had to give up work to care for Scarlett and to deal with the continuous hospital appointments. Whilst Emily has become more independent, Scarlett’s development remains slower. Scarlett can’t do the simple things that everyone else takes for granted.
Having twins highlights the vastly difference experience of the girls. Emily can have her friends over and loves gymnastics and bouncing on the trampoline. Scarlett’s school friends all live too far away.
Scarlett would love to join Emily for sleepovers at her grandparents, but they can’t manage all her physical needs. She can only visit if her older sister, Jessica, is there to help.
One day at a time
The girls do enjoy activities together. Scarlett has particular love of cream and jam doughnuts from Greggs. Naturally, I have to give attention to Scarlett, but we always try to make sure that Emily can do the things she loves too.
We take one day at a time and I don’t think about the future too much. I know I won’t be here to take care of Scarlett forever. We’d love to see Scarlett have more opportunities so we always get involved with any medical research projects. If you don’t, things will never get any better.