When one of our close partners and colleagues, Laura Milne of Lime HR, told us about a sponsored event she was holding to raise money for her daughter, India, to receive essential treatment in the USA, we were delighted to be able to offer our support.

The Gastro BBQ event was held on Friday Sept 14th in collaboration with Surrey MasterChef Quarterfinalist, Dan Britten and hosted by The Albury Organic Vineyard. Alongside the wonderful food and drink there was live Jazz courtesy of Eileen Hunter and Luca Boscadin as well as a fabulous raffle that included top prizes of a two night stay at The Draycott, London and a signed book by author and comedian David Walliams.

Laura was kind enough to explain in her own words India’s story and the importance of these fundraisers:

India was born with a rare combination of heart defects. For the first 2.5 years of her life she spent her time in and out of Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, having her little heart re-built by their Surgeons. During the second of those surgeries unfortunately she suffered a 42 minute cardiac arrest. Most people don’t come back from something like that but she did. She came back fighting. Because of this incident she suffered a brain injury (in children as young as her this is then classified as ‘cerebral palsy’) but luckily for her this has not affected her cognitively and so she attends a mainstream School. Instead, for India, this has affected the muscles in her body (the ‘do-ing’ bit if you like). In particular, the muscles that control her legs, arms, hands, face (for speaking and eating) and also for organising the co-ordination and balance in her body. Early on I was told she would never walk, talk, eat, etc. I called it a ‘diagnoses of doom‘. However, I researched therapies available and read about something called ‘neural plasticity’ – in short this is where (via lots of intensive courses of therapies) a damaged bit of a brain, and especially very small children, can potentially re-build and repair damaged neural pathways to help the child live a more able bodied life.

I found a therapy centre in the US – https://www.napacenter.org/our-programs/intensive-therapy/  who do these intensive course of therapy and specialise in children like India. I took her there for the first time in 2016 which was like waving a magic wand, after 3 short weeks of physical therapy she got up and walked for over an hour! I took her a second and third time in 2017 after which she could run and jump – her expressive language increased from virtually non-verbal to a word count of almost 2,000 words. This year I took her again in April and we will return again in October. These trips focus on her control, balance, fine motor skills (to help writing & dressing) and speech. Of course, these trips are costly, circa £12,000 per visit and the fundraising event I run each year will contribute towards these costs. Although the event is of course a fundraiser my ethos is not just to run something to help raise finds but also something that is great fun and a very enjoyable evening. I am enormously grateful to Corona Corporate Solutions for their very kind and generous donation and sponsorship of the event.

You can find out more and follow India’s story on Laura’s website https://www.iminspiring.com/