Henry is battling the effects of an in-utero stroke and, thanks to a committed team of healthcare professionals and fierce support from his family – plus a small donation from Satan’s Little Helper – he’s making slow and steady progress towards his ultimate goal of walking.
A stroke caused by a blood clot in Henry’s placenta changed the course of his life.
“He spent the first five weeks of his life in Christchurch Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit,” explains his mum, Anna. “He has left-sided hemiplegia (limb paralysis), Cerebral Palsy, and a type of epilepsy called infantile spasms.”
Thankfully, Henry’s epilepsy is controlled via medication, but Anna and the team of healthcare professionals looking after him are considering surgery to help cure it.
“In 2023 there was talk with his specialist team about possible epilepsy surgery, but following a recent trip to Starship for assessment, surgery has been held off for now. He is currently eight months seizure-free!”
To help the two-year-old in other areas of his life, Henry is seeing a speech therapist, a physio and an early learning teacher at an early learning intervention centre in Christchurch – all of whom have been incredibly supportive of his development.
“They’ve been amazing in helping with his development,” says Anna. “He can sit independently, roll on his own, say a few words and even feed himself.”
While those improvements are highly encouraging, Henry still has a way to go if he’s going to fulfil his potential. He still has very limited movement in his left arm and hand, while his left leg and foot have also been affected.
“He will need ongoing therapy for the rest of his life to ensure he gains strength and movement. If he qualifies for surgery to cure his epilepsy, it will make his left side even weaker!”
When Anna mentioned a specialised in-home therapy that that could help Henry make great progress, Satan’s Little Helper wanted to get involved and decided to pay for the consultation. The encouraging result is that Henry now has access to Neuro-Developmental Therapy (NDTP) via the Brain Injured Children Trust.
After Anna and Henry’s initial consultation with one of the NDTP’s experts, Henry has been provided a personalised programme to follow at home, with follow-ups every three to four months.
It’s early days, but there are encouraging signs.
“Henry's therapy is going well,” says Anna. “He is making slow but steady progress. So far, he is showing movement on his tummy and making small advances in his development. He still has a long way to go but we are hopeful that he'll walk one day!”