14 Jun Help make a real difference to the lives of the twins
When Claire and Paul Watson found out they were expecting twins, they knew their hands would be full.
However, they could not have been prepared for just how difficult their lives would become when both babies suffered brain damage after being born prematurely.
Emily and Christopher, now seven, require round-the-clock-care, are quadriplegic and suffer from cerebral palsy due to their arrival 14 weeks early.
Both can even stop breathing without warning, meaning they have to be watched at all times.
“When they did not reach their milestones, we knew something was wrong,” Claire, 44, said. “We had always known there was a risk of brain damage with them being premature but I think we were in denial for a little bit.
“We weren’t quite ready to accept it.”
Life is a struggle for Claire and Paul as they are needed to do everything for their children while living in an unadapted home in Ryton, Gateshead.
Claire added: “Christopher has some movement. He can reach out for things and wiggle but Emily has next to no movement other than facial expressions.
“They are now seven years old and we are living in a house where their bedrooms are upstairs so we have to carry them up and down and lift them everywhere.
“We have to dress them, wash them, feed them and change their nappies. Every single thing you do every day you would not even think about, they need help with.”
Christopher also has a tracheostomy fitted so cannot be left with anyone who is not fully trained with one as it can need draining very quickly to allow him to continue breathing.
Similarly, Emily can very easily choke on liquids and medications so will soon have a tube fitted into her tummy.
“It is just terrifying as a parent,” Claire added. “It is really scary.”
Emily and Christopher now have monitors at night which will alert their parents if they stop breathing as Emily had a close call at the beginning of the year when she began to choke and turn blue and floppy.
Despite all their difficulties, the twins bring so much happiness to their parents lives.
Claire said: “Emily is such an expressive little girl, that is how we tell what kind of mood she is in. She will smile and laugh if she is happy.
“Christopher has started to say a few words but he struggles to pronounce them properly. He calls me ‘Lolly’ and Paul ‘Daggy’. He can even say ‘Hiya cat’.
“We love taking them outdoors and going walking up hills and to the beach.”
The Watsons would love a cycle trailer to attach to Emily and Christopher’s all-terrain buggies so they can enjoy bike rides as a family.
The Sunshine Fund previously provided the family with the new buggies to allow them to enjoy the outdoors together as their old wheelchairs did not allow it.
Now the family are over the moon to be in line to benefit from the charity’s Go Bananas appeal which aims to raise £60,000 for specialist equipment for disabled children.
Claire said: “Going out on bike rides would give them a different sensory experience. Emily loves going fast and feeling the wind on her face.
“It is important they can do things other children can.”
Grateful Claire added: “The generosity always astounds me. I feel like Emily and Christopher are our children and our responsibility and it is really frustrating we cannot afford to give them everything we want to.
“They are not other people’s responsibility so I think it is such an amazing generous thing that people want to help them.”
Rebecca Jama, fundraising co-ordinator at The Sunshine Fund, said: “Please help support Emily and Christopher if you can, donations big or small make such a difference.
“We would also like to say a huge thank you to intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre for sponsoring our Go Bananas campaign.”