On Friday night I photographed a very special event. It was an event I found incredibly inspiring, just as the charities namesake states. I’d not heard of I’m Inspiring before one rainy morning when scrolling through Instagram whilst travelling to London. As soon as I did though and I heard Laura and India’s story, I knew I had to help. I was inspired by their courage and determination and I want to share a little of their story with you now.
I’m Inspiring – more than just a charity
There are many worthy causes in this world, each deserving in its own right, each with an aim to help. I’m Inspiring meets all of these points, but in my opinion, also goes beyond them.
I came across I’m Inspiring when reading a post from @thelegaleaglemummy (aka Laura) on 09 August dated 05 August. The photograph of this happy, smiling, face painted little girl staring back at me from my phone screen. I’d been feeling low that morning but this little girls smile was infectious, I found myself smiling back. I didn’t even know who @thelegaleaglemummy was let alone the name of the beautiful little girl.
As I read the caption for this post I realised there was a huge story to tell. A story of one little girls journey, with her no-nonesence Mummy, proving there is always hope.
Always the researcher, I started to read more about Laura and India, the journey they had endured so far and all that was to come. India was indeed a very special six year old.
India was born with a very rare combination of heart defects which required her to have open heart surgery as soon as she was born. India’s first operation was at three days old, the time when a new Mummy is meant to be enjoying their baby, not watching them fight for life. Three weeks later another operation followed but India’s heart stopped and her brain was deprived of oxygen for a time.
Following this traumatic experience, Doctors advised Laura that India would never walk or talk. The prognosis was one of gloom. Luckily for India, Laura wasn’t prepared to accept that. Through her own research, Laura learnt that a childs’ brain has what is called “neural plasticity”. This means it can build and repair new neural pathways if given enough regular physical therapy to make it ‘work’.
The downside was that the level of physical therapy needed wasn’t available in the UK and Europe. If India was to even try this therapy it would require transatlantic journeys to the specialist NAPA Center in America. Of course, this would have to be entirely self-funded by Laura.
The Results of Therapy
From that initial ‘diagnosis of doom’, as Laura refers to it, to four visits to NAPA Center; India is now walking for longer periods and has developed her expressive vocabulary to almost 2000 words. All of this is a result of the therapy she has received and having been able to begin to control her mouth, lips and tongue to speak in sentences.
Through the combination of Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy, India has the chance to live as able bodied a life as possible.
A Vineyard, Chef, Musician and Photographer
I quickly discovered that the next charity event for I’m Inspiring was taking place in just a few weeks time. Strangely, I remember feeling very nervous when I sent my Instagram DM to Laura, was it too much?
My message explained how I wanted to help, yet I was desperate to make clear that it wasn’t a marketing ploy. My offer was to photograph the event, but to do so by way of a donation, and hopefully helping spread the word of India’s journey.
I quickly learnt that the event had came about through a certain local Chef having contacted Laura in a similar vein to myself, none other that the fabulous Daniel Britten. Next came the venue, the gorgeous Albury Vineyard As fo the entertainment, step forward friends of Laura’s – Jazz and Soul duo Eileen Hunter and Luca Boscadin. It made for the perfect evening.
Together We Thrive
The Jazz and Dinner event took place on 14 September. Everyone who attended made connections that night. I met people from my town I would never otherwise have known. We all had the same goal: to help this little girl, and eventually others like her, to live a life where they could thrive.
I’m Inspiring’s Goal
Understandably, Laura’s current aim with I’m Inspiring is to help India, raising the necessary funds to get her the treatment she needs. Laura’s long term dream is to one day create a centre of excellence for this kind of therapy in the UK. A centre that allows all children with neurological issues to have the therapy that India has.
If you would like to know more about I’m Inspiring or to make a donation – be that help of monetary, you can do so here.
The purpose of this blog is entirely to highlight India’s journey and Laura’s work. I also hope it will bring them further help and inspire you in some way.
Giving needn’t be financial, time and skills are so valuable too, you never know who’s world you may help change for the better.