Heart Skips a Beat singer and Xtra Factor presenter Olly Murs makes an appeal to raise funds for Brainwave, a charity delivering therapies to disabled children.
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# My heart skip, skip, skip, skip, skips, skips a beat... #
'When I was younger, my one wish was to be a singer.'
Back then I didn't know I'd be an X Factor runner-up,
I'd be selling records, or I'd be doing my own UK tour.
'For me, the biggest hurdle was finding the confidence to get up and sing
'in front of so many people, but many children face much larger challenges.'
Every year, 27,000 children in the UK
are born with or develop a disability.
This can range from cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome,
autism or any other conditions that can affect or delay
the child's development. For those families that are given
such diagnoses, it can feel like facing a brick wall.
'Emily's mum Michelle thought she was a late developer
'when at 18 months Emily wasn't able to sit up by herself or stand.
'Then the consultant delivered the diagnosis.'
He just said cerebral palsy
and just carried on with the conversation. I couldn't believe it,
I just couldn't hear anything else other than that word.
Emily has a twin brother Louie
and as they grew up, the difference between the two of them grew stark.
When Emily was five, she started school.
She couldn't walk independently, she couldn't dress herself,
she couldn't feed herself, she couldn't wash herself, so she didn't
have any independence whatsoever.
Near where I grew up is an amazing charity called Brainwave, that I'm
a patron of, that specialises in helping children like Emily.
For nearly 30 years, Brainwave has helped families deliver
individual home-based therapies to help children with
a range of disabilities to achieve their potential.
'Harry suffers from hearing loss and a form of epilepsy called
'infantile spasms and hasn't been developing as he should.
'At one year old he couldn't sit up or reach to be picked up.
'He just seemed very distant.
'Then Harry's mum and dad Donna and Steve discovered Brainwave.'
Are you going to reach up, big reach, big reach, this hand too!
'The Brainwave programme is based on the principle of neuroplasticity,
'where functional parts of the damaged brain can be taught to build
'new connections to compensate for an injury or impairment.'
Here we are obviously activating his stomach muscles.
'The programme is delivered by therapists from a range
So by working slowly on the ball from side to side...
Lindsay and Liz design a personalised set of exercises for Harry
for Donna to take away and do at home.
Even just for a few seconds is
better than nothing cos he's at least feeling it through his hand.
'Donna and Harry first came to the centre four months ago
'and have been working on their programme ever since.
'They are back today for a reassessment.
'Donna has already noticed a difference.'
'When Harry first came to Brainwave
'he wasn't able to sit by himself at all.'
Since starting the Brainwave programme
and doing the physio on a daily basis, he can now sit up
unaided for perhaps 15 minutes sometimes.
He's got his toy.
'Emily's been going to Brainwave since she was five years old.
'She's now ten and the programme has had a remarkable effect.
'Her exercises have changed over the years, and currently focus
'on improving her balance, coordination and range of movement.
'The hard work has paid off, Emily is now dressing herself,
'walking to school and playing games with Louis.'
'Her mum Michelle hasn't watched her old videos for five years.'
The way her legs are moving there and the way they move now.
It's just incredible - the difference.
She's come through a lot.
I feel really proud,
and everyone in my family feels really proud of me,
and we all feel we are over the moon
with what Brainwave has done for me.
It's just amazing.
The Brainwave programme is for children up to the age of 12,
but the charity forms a long-term commitment to them.
As the children grow and approach new challenges,
many of the families continue to be supported by Brainwave
throughout their teenage years and beyond.
'22 years ago, Natalie was born with cerebral palsy.
'When she was diagnosed at 18 months old,
'doctors gave her mother Sally a very bleak outlook.'
We were told not to expect her to walk, talk or sit up,
that we had a major problem on our hands,
that she'd never be normal, and basically,
go home make her as comfortable as possible
and consider having more babies.
'When Natalie was two and a half years old
'her parents found out about Brainwave.'
'Natalie was put on a tailored programme of daily exercises
'which covered physical and cognitive skills
'to improve her strength, mobility and learning capacity.'
They worked and they worked very, very quickly.
The progression from then was to get her standing and to encourage her
to take her first step, and we never really believed
she'd be capable of doing that.
-Walk to Daddy.
And again. Good girl!
'With a lot of encouragement from her parents,
'Natalie continued to make dramatic improvements.
'She's now 22. I've come to meet her and find out how she's doing now.'
It's lovely to meet you. I'm so intrigued to hear your story.
Could you explain the difference Brainwave made to your life?
They've just completely turned my life around and made me independent.
-I've just completed my first year of university.
-Wow, that's amazing!
Yes. I'm doing animation, a BA honours animation.
'Natalie is studying at the University of Preston,
'staying in halls of residence, and living the life of any 22-year-old.'
-We should go to the beach.
Have you brought your camera with you?
-Are you being good?
-Are you sure?
-You're not going out?
-You're working hard?
She got a 2:1 for her first year.
I'm going to cry now, sorry.
It's such a huge achievement for her
and it's the result of many, many years of hard work, but we can
look back confidently now and say that we tried everything for Natty.
We tried to enable her to fulfil her potential, and she has.
Brainwave work with children with all sorts of disabilities,
autism and developmental delay.
Their programme, combined with hard work and determination,
can have an incredible effect on a young person's life,
quite simply transforming it.
But to help more children, Brainwave needs your help.
Please go to the website, bbc.co.uk/lifeline,
where you can donate.
If you can't do that,
you haven't got the internet, then please call this number...
0800 011 011.
And if you can't get through, please, please keep trying,
Brainwave needs your help.
Or if you'd like to post a donation, please make your cheque
payable to Brainwave and send it to...
Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,
the charity can collect Gift Aid on your donation, worth another 25%.
Just send in a note to say you want your donation to be subject
to Gift Aid, and include the date, your full name and address.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Olly Murs, 'Busy' and 'Heart Skips a Beat' singer and Xtra Factor presenter, goes back to his home town of Witham, Essex to make an appeal to raise funds for Brainwave - a charity that works with families to deliver therapies to children with a range of disabilities or developmental delay to help them achieve their potential.
The film features 22-year-old Natalie who has cerebral palsy but, with the help of the therapy programme she received from Brainwave, is living independently at the University of Preston, studying for her animation degree - something doctors told her parents would be impossible.