Paralympics prove inspiration for brave Skye
NOTHING is holding back Skye Swinton from her first gymnastic lessons.
Taking inspiration from the Paralympic Games, the three-year-old donned her little blue leotard this week and took her first steps on the balance beam and swing on the bars.
Skye, who needs a life-changing operation, suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. Her family is campaigning for the £40,000 operation that will help her walk with more stability.
She was born 13 weeks prematurely – weighing just 1lb 15oz – and has trouble standing up and spends a lot of her time in a wheelchair.
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Mum Ruth said: "Skye needs to stretch every day and gymnastics is a great way of getting her to do it, without her realising it is physiotherapy.
"It will hopefully teach her about her body shape and I think it will be excellent for her.
"She sometimes does not have the confidence to move her body like others and has just learned to jump.
"But she is a determined girl who gives everything a go and never lets it get in her way."
Skye currently spends 30 minutes each day stretching her limbs. The £40,000 operation will reduce the spasticity in her leg muscles and prevent her needing major orthopaedic surgery when older.
The Echo is backing the campaign for the surgery, which will help her walk and run in the future.
Ruth chose Rowan Gymnastics Club for Skye as it has coached children with disabilities in the past.
Skye's new gymnastics coach Dave Powell has worked with children with disabilities from cerebral palsy and Down's syndrome to diabetes in the past.
He said: "We have seen through the Paralympics just what people can do and achieve and how to get the most out of the possibilities.
"When coaching those with a disability, you just need to work out what they can and can't do and make sure they are included."
Skye, from Arle, has just returned from a trip to London to watch the swimming, athletics and equestrian events at the Paralympic Games.
Ruth, 38, and a former teacher, added: "The Paralympics were fabulous and so much fun. Everyone saw her pink wheelchair and treated her like royalty."
Nearly £2,500 has so far be raised in aid of Skye.
For more information and to support the campaign, log on to www.skyesthelimit.me.uk.