Go back a step

30 families enjoy Meet Up & Try It day with Hemihelp & midlands teams

Thursday 28th March 2019

Dad and son playing table tennis

Last Saturday, over 100 people descended on the Portway Lifestyle Centre, Birmingham for a Meet Up & Try It Day organised by HemiHelp, part of the Contact family, with support from the Contact Midlands team.

30 families with a child who has hemiplegia took the opportunity to meet, swap experiences and try new activities. Children with hemi and their siblings bonded over a range of exciting activities including trampolining, parachute games, table cricket, Nerf gun battles, magic tricks, crafts, swimming and playing the recorder or trumpet with one hand, finishing up with an epic Tug of War.

Also attending were a range of therapy providers, on hand to give advice and information: Breathe Magic AHR, OHMI Trust, Andiamo Orthotics, MAES Therapy expert and Physiotherapist Helen King, Occupational Therapist Rebecca Loo, and CIMT (Constraint Induced Movement Therapy) Manchester.

Throughout the day, parents and carers relished the chance to share stories and challenges with others who had a unique understanding of their situation. The children thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to try activities in a safe environment; one in which there was a level playing field.

Any initial nervousness was soon replaced by smiles. Parents commented: "There was inclusivity without it feeling hard or forced" and "[My son] felt included and just the same as everyone else. He enjoyed taking part in activities he would normally find difficult".

By the end of the day firm friendships had been made across all age groups. Children with hemi themselves bonded, and siblings were also able to share their experiences of living with hemiplegia with others who completely understood. New solutions to common challenges had been found as parents chatted and accessed the support of professionals able to suggest new and different ideas, techniques and physical aids.

It was an amazing day - thank you to everyone who gave their time to make it such a success. With demand for tickets far higher than places available, Contact hopes to organise similar events for families living with hemiplegia in future. These comments from parents sum it all up:

  •  "I have felt incredible joy sharing our experiences and meeting families in similar situations as us."
  • "I needed to know that there are others exactly the same as us."
  • "Despite my son feeling SO nervous before, he loved every minute!"
  • "It was great to catch up with other parents and realise that we aren't alone - there are plenty of others overcoming similar hurdles to ourselves. When we got up this morning both children asked when they could attend another Try It day!! It's made a lasting impression!"