VIRAL VIDEO: Toddler with cerebral palsy defying the odds

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Dec 07, 2023 |

The viral video of 2-year-old Emersyn standing. Instagram.

A two-year-old Rangiora girl is overcoming obstacles her family was told she would never achieve — becoming an internet sensation while she’s doing it.

Emersyn Jane Hardie suffered a severe brain injury at birth known as Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE).

Her mother Mackenzie-Jayne McNeill said, “Emersyn’s delivery was traumatic and when she was born she had no heart rate and wasn’t breathing. After 16 minutes of CPR and a month in NICU, an MRI confirmed that her brain was severely damaged which has led to her being diagnosed with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy. We were told that Emersyn would never walk, talk, move or eat.”

But no one told Emersyn that.

“She is a determined wee girl and has come off her feeding tube, is starting to say a few words and is rolling. She also learnt to sit at her last intensive therapy. Her next goal is learning to walk and stand unaided,” McNeill said.

A video posted to Instagram on 29 November, shows Emersyn’s therapist from Australia’s Centre of Movement helping her into a standing position, with the caption, “POV. When you finally get it after two weeks of practice.” The video captured a determined Emersyn, standing, with her face lighting up with joy when she achieves the impossible.

The video has had close to 5-million views so far.

“If this is what she can achieve at two years old I can’t wait to see what else she does. She is amazing,” said McNeill.

The Centre of Movement is a paediatric rehabilitation centre based on Australia’s Gold Coast that offers intensive therapy which has been proven to help children with cerebral palsy gain strength and develop more independence.

Ten families throughout New Zealand each raised $10,000 to bring the Australian team from the centre to Aotearoa this year. The 10 children received intensive therapy for their cerebral palsy. The team will be returning again next year to help more children.

Intensive therapy is for three hours a day over three weeks.

“The specialists help to rewire the damage in the children’s brains and create new pathways. It helps them gain the strength they are very much needing,” she said.

“Unfortunately this type of treatment is not cheap and is not available in New Zealand. Emmy needs 24/7 care so I haven’t been able to return to work. We aren’t able to do it alone and would love any support to help give Emersyn some independence,” McNeill said.

Follow Emersyn’s journey on her Instagram page and see how you can help support this family on their Givealittle page.

Emersyn Jane. Givealittle.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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