By Joe McFarlane
A family has travelled the world in order to help their four-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy.
When little Saharsha Bekkers was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of one, it was awful news for the family to hear.
But since that day, Saharsha, and her family have travelled from Sri Lanka to Singapore, America, Australia and the UK in order to seek out the best treatments and a life-changing surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy.
Now four-years-old and living with her family in Netherlands, brave Saharsha has overcome many struggles, including learning to walk instead of only being in a wheelchair.
Saharsha’s mother, Nabanita, said: “Cerebral palsy does not hold us back from anything.
“When Saharsha was diagnosed, we were absolutely shattered. We did not even know what it meant or implied.”
“After going through the usual emotions of anger, frustration and feeling sorry for ourselves, we moved very quickly to the phase of deciding what we needed to do in order to help Saharsha become the best version of herself.”
Starting physiotherapy when she was just one and undergoing a three-hour-long surgery at just the age of two, Saharsha has been learning how to deal with her diagnosis, and now shines as a beacon of inspiration.
Nabanita said: “At one-year-old, Saharsha could not sit up on her own and could not roll. She only ate blended food until she was three.
“Even up to a year ago, we were told that Saharsha’s core was too weak and that she would be better in a wheelchair.
“However, thankfully we found other specialists who believed in Saharsha and she rose to the challenge and has grown stronger.”
Saharsha now uses a walker for aid and has even started walking with sticks for short distances and can eat all kinds of food.
Nabanita said: “Nothing makes me or my husband prouder than seeing Saharsha walk.
“We know it has not been easy for her and sometimes we also need to push her to do difficult things. Behind every smiling photo there are hours of tears and frustration at not being able to do things.
“As she grows older, she also realises her differences. She asks us what is wrong with her legs. We tell her that she has an injury but with all the hard work that she is doing she only will grow stronger every day. “The best reward is that every time she learns something new, she immediately says ‘look Mummy and Papi, I can do this’, and she beams and is so happy. “So, every milestone is extra special for us. As parents we want Saharsha to reach her full potential and grow up to be a happy and kind person.
“We hope that through hard work and perseverance she can reach her dreams.”