Updated: Jul 21
06 October 2017
Written by Bruce Langoulant, CoMO Governing Council Member and chairperson of CoMO member, Meningitis Centre Australia.
Twenty Eight years ago Ashleigh was born a healthy and happy baby.. . Our family like many was living a normal family life. We had no history of any health challenges with our kids or through our broader family network.
Then at age 6 months, Ashleigh contracted pneumococcal meningitis. Out of the blue her life and ours was challenged by this virulent deadly disease which attacked her developing brain.
Remarkably, Ash survived, but her baby body was left with many after affects. This has meant adapting to a life with a range of permanent disabilities.
Her principle diagnosis was Cerebral Palsy.
"Then at age 6 months Ashleigh contracted pneumococcal meningitis. Out of the blue her life and ours was challenged by this virulent deadly disease which attacked her developing brain."
Today as a maturing young woman she is a happy and otherwise healthy member of our family and her community. Ash has a beautiful ability to attract people to her open and loving personality.
Cerebral Palsy is Ashleigh’s principal disability, but behind this label are a wide range of defining legacies.
Ashleigh is unable to walk, or talk, or hear, or fully understand. Ash is dependent on others for her daily care, personal needs, and epilepsy support.
Cerebral Palsy is a permanent and lifelong condition which can affect all of us differently. Some of us are quite severely affected and others less severely. Either way, in the early stages it is helpful to have a diagnosis so that you know where you fit and what services are out there to assist you on your new journey.
The people you meet on this journey can provide comfort from their knowledge and perspectives. They can provide direction and connections to help you find the services appropriate for you.
A life with Cerebral Palsy can be made more comfortable with good access to general health care advice, as well as the supply of equipment for daily living. Where you live can impact significantly on this. The role of a supportive family though is universally seen as key to the best outcomes wherever you may live.
Cerebral Palsy is a permanent and lifelong condition which can affect all of us differently.
I am pleased to say that Ashleigh has all of these vital features in her life and that along with her very kind and attentive community support team, she is able to live a fulfilling life despite the challenges of her Cerebral Palsy.
Bruce is a member of the CoMO Governing Council and Chairperson of Meningitis Centre Australia in Australia. He lives with his wife, Jenni, and 3 adult daughters in Perth.