Three-year-old Avery Sinclair was travelling home from Cloud 9 Trampoline Park when disaster struck. The car she was in hit a culvert and, after firefighters cut her from the wreck, she was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a broken back, bruised bowel, a damaged neck ligament and a bruised spinal cord.
She suffered from an incomplete T11 injury, which means her spine (at belly button level) was partially severed. This impacted everything below hip level.
After the crash, Avery spent six months at The Wilson Centre, a rehab hospital for children in Takapuna, but has returned home and is learning to walk again.
On a scale of one to five, with one being non-functioning and five fully-functioning, Avery’s quads are at a three. Unfortunately, her hamstrings and calves are at a one. Orthotics and extensive rehabilitation have helped Avery regain some movement and independence but it’s a long road to recovery.
“She has physio and sees an occupational therapist twice a week,” says her mum Rochelle.
“Avery can crawl because her quads work. She’ll choose to crawl around the home, but when we’re out and about she’ll be in her chair. She has a walking frame but to use it she needs to wear her ankle-foot orthotic, which replaces her calf muscle and gives her lower-leg stability.”
To reach her goal of walking unassisted, Avery needs to retrain her brain to ‘speak to’ her hamstring and calves.
“There’s things she can do to build new pathways, so she gets movement back. She needs to be doing things for the brain to learn how to create new pathways.”
One of those things is climbing. Rochelle’s partner Jonathan gave up his job to care for Avery, who is now four years old. Because of that, they don’t have access to the funds to buy expensive equipment like a climbing frame and scramble net.
When Satan’s Little Helper found out how much good could be achieved if Avery had access to one, we knew we had to provide! As well as the physical benefits, the climbing frame also lets her play with her siblings – something that has been restricted since her accident.
“Having a climbing frame is a pretty big step forward in her recovery,” explains Rochelle. “It will get her calves and hamstring firing up. For that to happen, she needs to be doing something regularly to use those muscles and climbing will help massively.
“Avery’s loving it. It’s nice to see her and her siblings play together. Before her accident, she used to love running around with them and she always wants to play with them. Engaging Avery in play and including her is really important. It’ll prevent her from feeling like she’s excluded.”
Avery starts school in February 2022 and the plan is to take it easy at first. With access to the climbing frame and the support of her committed parents, Avery has got every chance of transitioning to full-time school and ticking off another box on her road to recovery.