Muswellbrook family encouraging Upper Hunter to support local 2017 Steptember walk for cerebral palsy

WARRIORS: Muswellbrook family Kylie, Anika and Kris Facer are encouraging the community to support the public Muswellbrook Steptember walk later this month.
WARRIORS: Muswellbrook family Kylie, Anika and Kris Facer are encouraging the community to support the public Muswellbrook Steptember walk later this month.

TWELVE months ago, Kris and Kylie Facer knew very little about cerebral palsy.

Today, they are determined to give back to the community that supported them through one of their toughest but sweetest years.

On Wednesday, they will celebrate their daughter Anika’s first birthday.

Shortly after she was born, doctors informed them she had suffered a stroke in utero, which caused a mild degree of cerebral palsy.

Throughout their journey, they were supported by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA), and, this month, they are hoping to raise money and awareness so others are assisted.

“She joined them at about six weeks of age, the youngest that they’d ever had,” Mr Facer said.

“She’s showing results and that’s something that they’re pushing [for] and researching, that the earlier the intervention, the better the outcomes.”

Every September, the CPA hosts a Steptember event where participants walk throughout the month.

As well as their 10,000 steps per day, the Facers will host a public Muswellbrook walk on Saturday, September 30, beginning at Simpson Park.

The day will include family entertainment, food, jumping castles and more.

“Everything that they’ve done for us at this point has all been done through fundraising dollars,” Mrs Facer said.

“It was important for us to try and give a little bit back to say thank you because the therapy they’ve given her has allowed her to have all relatively normal functions, which, at the very start, they told us was a very small possibility of that being the case.

“We’re super grateful and anything we can do is really awesome.”

Mrs Facer said one in every 500 children in Australia was born with some degree of cerebral palsy.

“We had really very little knowledge of what cerebral palsy was until it affected our family,” she said.

“Even right down to when we started going to mothers group, none of the other mums that were there had any real knowledge of it either.

“It’s something that affects such a large percentage of newborn babies, yet we have so little knowledge and understanding of what it is and to what extent.

“It can be very minor, like Anika’s is, or it can be really severe and extensive.

“It covers such a large scope really.”

The Facers’ main aim with hosting the walk is to raise awareness and to educate the community as a whole regarding the needs of children with the condition.

“It’s everything from little bits of therapy, to assistance at daycare and having the cares know what they can do to help,” Mrs Facer said.

“For Anika it’s very simple – just making her use her right hand a lot.

“When she starts to pull herself up on things and starts getting around, it’s making sure her right foot is planted.

“But, without any of that education and knowledge, everyone just kind of carries on as is.

“She looks fine for all intents and purposes, and she is, but it’s just making people aware of what it is.”

Following their experiences, the pair co-founded Little Stroke Warriors with a woman in Victoria, which they are in the process of registering as a charity.

“That’s about resources and about having a base of people they can ask questions to who have all been there before,” Mrs Facer said.

For more information the Muswellbrook Community Steptember Walk, or to follow the work of Little Stroke Warriors, find LSW on Facebook.