Eleven-year-old Jacqueline has a real sense of style. The outgoing Grade 6 student knows how to coordinate fashion with function.
Jacqueline, who has cerebral palsy, has been coming to Holland Bloorview since she was three years old. The hospital has helped ease her pain caused by dystonia, a movement disorder where muscles contract uncontrollably often resulting in repeated movements or abnormal postures.
Jacqueline receives Botox injections that help her move virtually pain-free. While more commonly known as a cosmetic treatment for wrinkles, Botox can also be used as a treatment to reduce muscle spasms for kids with cerebral palsy.
In addition to the Botox, Jacqueline has been fitted for leg braces by the hospital’s orthotics department. They’ve changed her life. Now she can run, play in the park with friends, and play sports like volleyball or badminton. Holland Bloorview’s orthotics team helps kids of all ages, from infants to adults, who need exact-fitting orthoses (braces) to support, protect or realign parts of their bodies.
The team’s orthotists and technicians design and make orthoses so that kids can take part in activities they love – playing sports, playing musical instruments, riding bikes, whatever they want to do.
And while others might see them as just a supportive device, Jacqueline saw an opportunity to express herself. So she worked with the orthotics team to decorate her leg braces with colourful unicorns.
Working with Jacqueline was no easy feat. “I was very picky with the design,” she admits.
Her decorated braces go perfectly with her brightly coloured shoes, her unicorn sweater and her unicorn bracelets. She feels good and ready for anything. She’s chosen this outfit for her Monday night kids-only cerebral palsy support group, run by the hospital.
“It all fits, it all matches, don’t you think?” she says proudly.
“Holland Bloorview has really helped me,” she adds. “I don’t know what I would do without this place.”