Brooklyn the Pilot

At just four years old, Grandview kid Brooklyn has an advanced understanding of what it means to persevere in the face of adversity, something few children her age have to think about.

Brooklyn was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at just over a year old here at Grandview Children’s Centre.  Small but strong at heart, she has been attending therapy and working towards attainable goals ever since.

“She was just over a year old and she wasn’t really making those milestones. The crawling wasn’t there like you would normally see and she didn’t have the strength to pull herself up. My boys, when they were that age, were able to get around and move and you just didn’t see the same milestones,” recalls her mother, Julianne Hattie. “We went into Grandview and they assessed her. That’s when we were told she has cerebral palsy.”

Julianne says she remembers this news being incredibly shocking.

“We just thought she was behind. She was premature, born seven weeks early, so we did know that she would be behind but we weren’t expecting that she had cerebral palsy… we just thought she just wasn’t meeting her milestones and needed some help,” says Julianne.

Julianne says that thankfully, Grandview was ready to help them through this process, answering any questions they might have and explaining the various services that were available to help families like theirs.

“Grandview immediately took her on and she had regular appointments with therapy. They assessed her for different things; for hearing, for eyesight and everything possible,” says Julianne.

Brooklyn has attended Grandview for Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy since her diagnosis.

“They’ve really done everything for her. Like everything possible, they’ve been on it,” says Julianne.

Last year was Brooklyn’s first year as a student at Campbell Children’s School, Grandview’s co-located educational partner. This fall, Brooklyn will be starting year two at the school.

“When she started school she wasn’t able to sit properly. She always leans over and couldn’t sit criss-cross applesauce. She had SDR surgery in the United States in St. Louis. When we came back I think that helped a lot with the therapy she was given and she is now able to sit up properly and sit criss-cross applesauce. She was quite excited about that,” says Julianne.  “She’s able to stand on her own for a few seconds, she’s able to take quite a few steps now on her own which is great and she gets around. She’s able to maneuver and get up and down and pull herself up on things and we’re really working on the stretching of her muscles which is helping quite a bit.”

Before her surgery and intensive therapy at Grandview, Brooklyn would experience quite a bit of pain through the night. Now, that pain is gone. According to Julianne, the doctor predicted that with extensive therapy, Brooklyn would be able to walk unaided.

Julianne says the Grandview has been a key part in Brooklyn’s growth. She says one of the biggest pieces Grandview has had to offer their family is knowledge.

“When you have an appointment with them, it’s not just doing things for her, it’s explaining it to me so I understand it so I’m knowing what she’s going through and how she’s feeling. None of us have dealt with it before so it’s helpful to know what’s going on with our daughter and what we can do to help improve like different stretches and different activities we can do,” says Julianne. “They’re very good at explaining things and helping you to know what to do as well so we can work with her at home.”

Through it all, Grandview has offered practical and attainable goals every step of the way, constantly finding innovative and creative ways for Brooklyn to reach those goals.

“At the beginning of the (last) school year, one of the biggest things was having Brooklyn be able to stand for a bit on her own. They’re attainable goals and she seems to be meeting those goals,” says Julianne. “They’re very good at making it more fun. Therapy is not always so fun for the little one, so they try and make a game of things so that they’ll get through the activities and not realize they’re actually at therapy. They figure out what each kid likes and they will do the therapy around different activities to keep them engaged.”

With Brooklyn smashing every attainable therapy-oriented goal that has been thrown her way, it’s no wonder she has begun to think about the future and reach towards her ultimate career goal of being a pilot.

Recently, with the help of Stephanie and Howard Humphry of MTC Factory Outlet, Brooklyn was able to see what it would be like to be a pilot for the Grandview Kids commercial.

Grandview reached out to Stephanie and Howard Humphry to ask if they would like to help make Brooklyn’s dream come true. They jumped at the chance to put a smile on her face, offering their own private plan for flight.

It turned out to be an emotional day for everyone involved. Seeing Brooklyn’s smile and excitement moved everyone to tears.

“It was a really amazing day from the start to the finish. Howard and Stephanie had really thought everything through for her,” says Julianne. “She got to look at the different planes, sit in them, learned all about them and she got to go up in the plane which was really cool. She even got to try the simulator, where actual pilots go in and practice.”

“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” 

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