Variety helps Mangoplah boy run like Forest Gump!

At 12 months old, Bronnie Everingham noticed her son, Joel was not putting any weight on his feet nor showing the typical milestones for his age of trying to stand. After consulting a paediatrician, Joel was diagnosed with global developmental delay, characterised by low muscle tone and told that he may never walk.

The Everingham family at home. Joel (tan jacket), Alisha (older girl, brown knit), Shekinah (glasses), Samuel (older boy, black hat) and parents Bronnie (white scarf) and Chris (blue jacket). Photos by BEN EYLES

Although he was very unstable and could only be upright for short periods of time, his physiotherapist recommended trialing a Theratogs suit; a garment deigned to activate different muscle groups to help stabilise and support muscles and encourage the body to use them better and more efficiently.

Joel was fitted with a hired suit that made a huge difference improving his core strength, coordination and balance and so his parents sought a more permanent option.

However, at a cost of $947 the suit was cost prohibitive for the family, who turned to Variety for assistance.

Recently, Variety funded Joel his very own Theratogs suit and he has continued literally to take leaps and bounds to such an extent that he is now running and his parents have labelled him a miniature version of  Forest Gump.

Prior to having the suit, his walking was very unstable, his feet were turned out and he struggled to stay upright for long periods of time but the suit has made such a difference.  He can now run and generally it has improved his overall posture as it encourages him to use his muscles the right way,” says Bronnie.

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