Five-year-old Tyler Pennycook suffered a stroke at birth and has limited mobility on his right-hand side. To strengthen Tyler’s muscles and improve his range of motion, Satan’s Little Helper part-funded a much-needed trampoline.
Tyler’s mum, Emma McComb’s, doesn’t remember much about the day hospital staff took her newborn son away from her. “I didn’t think he was going to survive. It was all a blur,” says Emma. The day after Tyler’s birth, he stopped breathing and started having seizures. Doctors performed a lumbar puncture to test for meningitis and when that returned a negative, he was flown to Wellington from Palmerston North. “Within an hour they stopped the seizures,” explains Emma, “and found out he had a major stroke in utero. They say it was caused by a blot clot during labour.” Tyler’s stroke affected his right leg and foot, as well as his speech. He can talk now, but his development was delayed – he also needs annual botox treatment in his leg to relax his muscles. “His muscles aren’t as developed in his right leg and he swings it out when he walks. His toes on his right foot are curled up, so doctors will have to break and re-set them when he’s older.” Finding ways for Tyler to engage his right leg to develop muscles is important, which is why Satan’s Little Helper was delighted to help Emma purchase a spring safe trampoline with a safety net. “The trampoline helps his physical and mental health. He’s been on it non-stop and you can see him growing in confidence. “My other son has had all his mates over to play on it and they love it too. They’ve had the hose on there, they’ve had balls on there, they’ve had everything possible on there!” A net around the outside of the trampoline means Tyler can play in it with no risk of falling off – which gives Emma some much needed time to herself. “Having some time where I can do the chores on my own or just relax is important. I don’t need to sit and watch him 24/7, because I know he’ll be safe.” Tyler has been through a lot in his short time on earth. His next challenge will be to adapt to school, something that Emma says will be tricky. “He thrives off routine; anything that’s different is a struggle for him. He’ll have a slow integration into school, but he’ll get there in the end. He’s got the most awesome personality. He’s such a happy boy, considering what he’s been through – he’s a little fighter.”