Born 3 months prematurely, Zoe was the size of her dad’s wristwatch and weighed less than a small bag of sugar.
“They told me that giving birth to a child when I was six months pregnant does not sit well for the tiny baby” says mum Caroline. She never sucked and didn’t crawl, so we made an appointment with a specialist on the day before her second birthday and were told she had Cerebral Palsy. I visualised the worst: wheelchair, not being able to stand, walk or talk. We were devastated.”
Living with cerebral palsy
“Zoe amazes me – she’s had a massive amount of knock-backs, but she pushes the boundaries and does as much as she can. The world is difficult for kids like Zoe, and that’s why it’s good to have Sparks there.”
Now 20, Zoe’s been in and out of hospital all of her life. Zoe says “through the years, I’ve had Botox injections and other kinds of treatments in my muscles. A few years ago I had double leg surgery and had to learn to walk again.”
In the last two years, Zoe has taken on the London and New York marathons, raising more than £250,000 for Sparks’ paediatric research, including funding a pioneering project which looks to help prevent premature labour. Since London Marathon, Zoe’s wheelchairs been redundant.
“Sparks’ research is extremely important,” says Zoe. “Not only for the children and families that are affected, but also future generations.”