By Charlotte Nisbet
A doting six year old who helped disabled little sister hit all her milestones has now taught her to rock climb.
Ella Gibbs, from Worcester, West Mids, is inseparable from her four year old sister, Georgie, who was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy at one years old.
The disability – a neurological condition which causes stiff muscles and can led to those affected relying on a wheelchair – was a result of Georgie being 11 weeks premature.
Their parents, Clare, 43, and Carl, 41, were told by doctors that Georgie was unlikely to ever walk and were advised to create their daughter a downstairs bedroom.
But they refused, and Georgie has defied the odds ever since to walk, cycle, swim horse ride and even rock climbs.
Georgie needs daily physio but Ella always gets involved and ensures she does her stretches properly.
The pair are inseparable and Clare believes Georgie has hit her milestones thanks to Ella and their special bond.
Clare, a HR manager, said: “I have no doubt that Ella’s help with Georgie has allowed her to become so active.
“We were told to expect Georgie never to stand, walk or have any independence but look at her now.
“Ella has been obsessed with her little sister since the day she met her.
“She helps with her daily physio and always ensure she’s doing her stretches.
“It’s Ella’s daily encouragement that has led to Georgie doing so well.
“She always wants to copy her big sister and seeing her going up the climbing wall gave her the ability to try it for herself.
“We are incredibly proud of both our girls, Ella, despite only being six, has even raised over £1000 on her own for Georgie’s fundraising page.”
Clare and Carl were unaware there daughter had cerebral palsy until she was 12 months old.
The mum of two added: “She was born weighing just 3lb but we were told everything was fine and she’d develop like most other babies.
“But it didn’t take long before I started to suspect something was wrong.
“She wasn’t sitting up like other babies her age and her development was slow.
“We were devastated when she was first diagnosed, we had no idea what the future held but we did our best to stay positive.
“There was no way I was going to give up on Georgie, we had to try everything to give her a normal life.”
The couple have done their best to explain Georgie’s condition to both of their daughters.
Clare said: “Ella fully understands her sisters condition and I’ve heard her explaining it to her friends.
“It’s adorable watching them together, ‘do your exercises and you’ll get some sweets,’ Ella says.
“They are always together and Georgie is due to start Ella’s school in September and she has already educated her friends about cerebral palsy.
“We have built a physio room at the end of our garden and if we haven’t been out cycling, swimming or rock climbing, the girls go in there and do some exercises.”
Georgie will need treatment to help her cerebral palsy for the rest of her life – and 14 months ago, she underwent a selective dorsal rhizotomy to help loosen the tight muscles in her legs.
Clare added: “The operation isn’t available on the NHS and we were trying to raise £60k for her to go to the US before she was accepted on an NHS clinical trial.
“Before the operation Georgie had around 50 falls per day and was waking up during the night in pain.
“She’s now over half way through her intense two year physio but I can’t wait for the results to come in.
“It has made a massive difference to all of our lives and I hope the NHS bring it in to help all other children who could benefit from this life changing operation.”
When Ella and Georgie aren’t being active and learning new things together, they can be found playing with their toys like most other children their age.
Clare said: “They are inseparable and Georgie has learnt so much from Ella already.
“We try to ensure we treat both the girls the same even though Georgie has different needs due to her disability.
“We were devastated when we were told Georgie would never hit any normal childhood milestones but I hope our story gives other parents hope.
“Despite Georgie having the operation on the NHS her funded aftercare is limited only two sessions a month.
“In order for the operation to be a success Georgie has to have additional private physio therapy sessions and specialist equipment which is funded through regular donations and fundraisers.”
To donate, visit: help – Georgie.