When Caitlin was just 4 months old, a series of tests including ultrasound, blood tests, lumbar punctures and an electroencephalogram (EEG) revealed her first diagnosis – Quadriplegic Spastic Cerebral Palsy. This means that damage in her brain has disrupted normal muscle functioning in all four of her limbs, causing jerky movements, muscle tightness and stiffness in her joints.
Caitlin is now 17, and her diagnoses have continued to pile up ever since. They now include chronic lung disease, epilepsy and vision impairment. She undergoes regular physiotherapy and takes 10 different drugs to manage her conditions, as well as regular courses of IV antibiotics for her lungs and infusions to help the fractures in her spine.
Caitlin is in a wheelchair 24/7 – she cannot sit unaided, cannot communicate and cannot do any self care. Her vision is just 10%, so she cannot even see. She lives with constant pain and her floppy airway means that she struggles to breathe at night – sleeping is very difficult and rare for Caitlin!
Despite all this, Caitlin has a wicked sense of humour and an infectious giggle. She loves being around people and hanging out with her family and friends.
Caitlin loves Playschool, going out on a boat, being in the bush and going to the movies! She also loves musicals, and music in general.