Erb's Palsy Group Go Climbing

Erb's Palsy Group Go Climbing

By Hati Whiteley>

Last year, we supported Erb’s Palsy Group’s (EPG) climbing and caving experience day for children with Erb’s Palsy by giving them funding for instructors and equipment. We were keen to hear how they all got on…

Erb’s Palsy is a rare condition that causes partial or full paralysis of the arms, often due to a birth trauma. The rarity of cases makes opportunities for families to meet their peers sparse, and as the only UK-based organisation offering advice and information to families affected by Erb’s Palsy, the EPG play a vital role in building a community where those affected can seek guidance and support.

To this end, the EPG organises an annual event for families to get together, share ideas and experiences, and to support one-another. These meet-ups also serve as an opportunity to introduce young people with Erb’s Palsy to new activities, giving them the opportunity to achieve something special, and promoting the use of their paralysed arms and legs, as Chairperson Karen Hillyer explains:

We wanted to create fabulous memories and boost the confidence and skill set for these children, so we decided to provide the children with a range of activities which may previously have been unavailable for them locally to encourage them to reach their physical, social and emotional potential.

[Children with Erb’s Palsy] are often denied the chance to access adventurous activities for health and safety reasons; we aim to remove the barriers they face and enable them to participate in and enjoy exciting activities whilst remaining safe.”

This year’s event was a huge success: for many of the group it was their first experience of climbing and the climbing sessions encouraged them to engage and participate in outdoor activities. The event also helped parents and carers to appreciate just how capable children with Erb’s Palsy are, Karen elaborates:

“Their parents and carers benefitted from the from realising that these children ARE able to participate in activities which challenge them and encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle despite their disabilities. The families now have the confidence to allow the children to seek out activities in their own local areas which previously [they] have been reluctant to allow them to.”

What the participants thought:

“Wow! What a day! This was the first time Tiannah and I have been to a Fun Day – she kept looking at the climbing wall and was very unsure, but Lauren the instructor promised her she would be by her side if she wanted to try it… They both went up together and that was it: Tiannah was HOOKED! So much so [that] I have had to find an indoor climbing facility near where we live.

She has gained so much confidence since the day: meeting other kids with Erb’s Palsy and trying a range of new things has really boosted her self-esteem - I am so grateful.”

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The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.

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