Topics:  cerebral palsy, grace lukan

Little Grace's spirited fight in the US

DETERMINATION: Two-year-old Gin Gin toddler Grace Lukan has cerebral palsy and is in Los Angeles undergoing three weeks of intense physical therapy with her therapist, Jess.
DETERMINATION: Two-year-old Gin Gin toddler Grace Lukan has cerebral palsy and is in Los Angeles undergoing three weeks of intense physical therapy with her therapist, Jess. Lucy Lukan

TWO-YEAR-OLD Gin Gin toddler Grace Lukan brings a whole new meaning to the words strength and determination.

While cerebral palsy has taken away her ability to control her body movements, it hasn't taken away her spirit.

Little Grace and her mum, Lucy, are now in Los Angeles so the youngster can receive three weeks of intensive physical therapy - something that is not offered in Australia.

"The therapy is intense and extensive," Mrs Lukan said.

"All of this is not available anywhere in Australia which is frustrating because Grace responds really well and quickly to the therapy."

The toddler spends four hours each day with a therapist at the Napa Center - a place which offers therapy for a wide range of neuromuscular disorders.

Together they do a variety of exercises using various equipment to improve Grace's strength, balance, reflexes and muscle co-ordination.

"She works really hard and for her to do simple movements is a mammoth task," Mrs Lukan said.

"For example, for her to keep her head in what they call midline - straight in the middle - she's not just using her neck muscles but putting her whole body into it.

"We don't realise how many muscles are in play to keep our head up straight and being able to turn our head with ease."

Mrs Lukan said the repetition of the exercises was a challenge for Grace.

"She has to repeat a movement over 500 times for it to be receptive to the neural pathways of the brain."

Despite the physical exhaustion, Mrs Lukan said her daughter was succeeding in leaps and bounds.

"She has shown me what a determined, resilient and amazing little girl she is," she said.

Mrs Lukan said the therapists at the centre were extremely dedicated and "they don't put limits on the kids".

"You can see they love what they do and love the kids they work with," she said.


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