THREE-YEAR-OLD Shelby Connors was diagnosed with quadriplegia cerebral palsy at just 10 months of age and her family are now looking for community support to help her take her first steps.
Nat Joseph knew something was wrong as soon as Shelby was born, despite having a normal and healthy pregnancy.
“We knew something wasn’t quite right when Shelby was born,” Ms Joseph said.
“The first few months were different to what I had experienced with my other children.”
As she got older, Shelby struggled to gain weight and wasn’t showing signs of development, so Shelby’s parents took her back to the doctors for more tests.
The doctors diagnosed Shelby with quadriplegia cerebral palsy, which means she doesn’t have full use of her arms or legs.
“We were devastated when the doctors finally discovered what was wrong,” Kodie Connors, Shelby’s dad, said.
“It was heartbreaking to know that our beautiful girl wouldn’t grow up in the same way as our other children.”
Shelby’s parents received Better Start disability funding to help Shelby attend speech and movement therapy with St Giles every week.
Shelby has defied all odds and is now able to roll, lift her head, hold things and has almost full understanding when spoken to.
Ms Joseph said Shelby was incredibly bright and her diagnosis hadn’t interfered with her ability to understand when mum and dad were talking to her.
Recently in a therapy session, Shelby’s doctor recommended she trial an electronic wheelchair, which Shelby took to quickly.
“It was such an emotional moment because it was like watching Shelby walk by herself for the first time,” Ms Joseph said.
“We were very teary and emotional watching Shelby scoot around in the chair.
“She loved it and was able to use the controls to move around really well, she even had fun going around in circles.”
The family want to purchase an electronic wheelchair for Shelby but are unable to afford it, so they have reached out to the community for help.
“We have set up a GoFundMe page where friends, family and members of the community can donate money towards Shelby’s wheelchair,” Ms Joseph said.
The electronic wheelchair will cost $12,000, and the Josephs are hoping to raise $6000 through GoFundMe.
Ms Joseph said the wheelchair would give Shelby her own independence and help her to move around without assistance.
“It will be great for Shelby to be able to play with her brothers and sister – she loves playing chasings and it would be so amazing if she could do that independently.”
To help Shelby get her wheelchair, visit www.gofundme.com/help-shelby-with-independence
Caption: Shelby Connors with mum Nat and dad Kodie.