Lilly keeps on walking tall

BRAVE: Lilly Coole doesn't let her disability hold her back

BRAVE: Lilly Coole doesn't let her disability hold her back

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LITTLE Lilly Coole is determined not to let anything stop her. And so are her family.

The four-year-old, from South Shore, did not have the best start in life, but now she makes the most of everything.

She was born premature – at just 27 weeks and five days – along with her twin sister Evie, at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Lilly weighed just 1lb 8oz and Evie only 2lb 2oz and were both incredibly poorly. They had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome – a condition which occurs in the placenta and causes an imbalanced flow of blood from one twin to another.

Sadly, tiny Evie was too weak and lost her battle on October 26, 2008.

Lilly spent the first few months of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit, with a slight bleed on the brain.

But after growing stronger each day, she was transferred to the special care baby unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Lilly spent her first Christmas there, but her condition kept improving and when she reached 4lbs 10oz, she was allowed home.

It was nearly two years later, her family were told due to her premature arrival and the bleed on her brain, she had spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

But proud mum Lynette says – despite struggling with movement in both arms and legs – Lilly makes the most out of life.

Lynette said: “She is a real cheeky monkey. She does lots of difference activities and doesn’t let anything get in her way.

“She has to have regular physio, do special exercises, stretches and has splints to help keep her steady.

“Lilly is a beautiful, amazing, extremely clever little girl.

“She loves swimming, ballet and going to nursery.

“Her swimming instructor Joanne Atkinson has been brilliant, it’s harder for Lilly and Joanne’s been great with her.

“They are also fantastic at Dunes Day Nursery where she goes, they do all her stretches with her.

“She’s been doing ballet at Langley’s Dance School and it really helps her - her confidence and posture has improved. She does great.”

Lilly’s family, dad Michael and brother Josef, 15 – who affectionately call her their “little Bambi” – are gearing up for a mammoth sponsored walk in March next year.

They will be trekking from Royal Blackburn Hospital, where she was born, to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she was transferred – a route of 27.4 miles.

They will raise money for the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Cerebral Palsy Association and in memory of Evie.

The family say they want to put something back for the help they have received from the charity, while raising awareness of the work it does. Lilly needs a special supportive brace, a “second skin”, which will help her with her posture, as she is showing signs of a lordotic spine.

Such equipment is not provided on the NHS and costs around £500.

The charity has offered to pay for the brace for Lilly.

Dad Michael said: “Due to his amazingly kind offer, myself and my wife decided we would like to raise some money for this charity.

“We want to help the association continue to help other families in the future.”

To sponsor the family or find out more visit www.justgiving.com/Michael-Coole