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Play is the best medicine

For some, laughter might be the best medicine – but when Evie-Paul’s nomination landed in front of Satan’s Little Helper, it was clear she’d need something more tangible. Now, armed with a balance bike, she’s playing more, building strength, and loving it!

Evie-Paul loves her gift from Satan's Little Helper

Evie-Paul’s life has been one of hospital admissions and specialist appointments since she was born, nearly two years ago, with a cleft lip and palate. She then developed severe reflux, which turned into an eating aversion, is anaphylactic to eggs, highly intolerant to dairy, has glue ear, is hypermobile, and is recovering from untreated aspiration pneumonia.

It’s a lot to take in all at once – and Evie-Paul’s mum Karli says her constant hospital trips aren’t over yet.

“She’s had three operations in total – two on her cleft lip and palate and one to remove her tonsils and adenoids, but the surgery didn’t achieve exactly what we wanted.”

Difficulty eating and drinking

The muscles in Evie-Paul’s mouth don’t work properly, which Karli hoped going under the knife would fix. When she eats or drinks, she can’t control where the fluid goes, which means it can end up in her lungs when she tries to swallow.

“We’ve had a lot of hospital admissions, because she’s got milk or water in her lungs,” says Karli.

Even though Evie-Paul is due to have another operation to insert a second set of grommets, battling pneumonia is the most pressing thing on her to-do list.

“Doctors call it walking pneumonia,” explains her mum. “She can live with it day-to-day, but it doesn’t stop damage occurring to her lungs. She had an eight-week trial of high strength antibiotics and is on a permanent feeding tube.”

The good news is that the feeding tube has stopped her repeated infections, and Karli says she’s as happy and healthy as she’s ever been!

Strength to build

However, that’s all relative, and there’s no denying that Evie-Paul needs a little bit of help.

“I’ve followed Satan’s Little Helper on Facebook for a wee while, and I was debating whether I should nominate Evie, but as she’s becoming more aware of hospital trips and the trauma associated with it, I thought I should, as she’s been through a lot!”

Satan’s Little Helper was only too happy to help. Evie-Paul’s physio suggested that a balance bike would be a good way for her to build strength in her muscles and lungs, so it was our pleasure to provide one!

“As soon as it arrived, Evie and her sister Emelia were playing, which was so nice to see. Evie was trying to chase Emelia and this time she could keep up with her! Normally, Evie would wear herself out within five minutes but, thanks to the balance bike, she could keep going and spend more time with her sister.

“I’m hoping it’ll have a big impact on her strength, especially as she’s also hypermobile and developing the muscle around her joints is important.”

We hope so too – and so happy to hear that she is loving her new way to play!


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