Cute, isn’t she? This one has undeniably caught the heart of CEO, Gina Hopkins, and of everyone who has the pleasure of meeting this smiley, happy and friendly bundle of joy!
Have you noticed the oxygen tubes yet? Unfortunately Faith was born premature and spent her first year of her life in hospital, she had to develop enough to stabilise her chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension. Although she is now home she has a constant requirement for oxygen therapy, medication and feeding through a tube as well as rehabilitation needs. She regularly spends nights in hospital when her heart rate spikes, due to various reasons, often to over 200 beats per minute!
Faith was lucky enough to be born into a Jiu Jitsu family and community, with both parents active in training and competing. Although needing round the clock care both Kirsty and Clayton have managed to stay active and continue their journey, undoubtedly good respite for the family. It gives them back some of their own time, Faiths’ care could easily have left the parents completely isolated and the consequences of that on someone’s mental and physical health doesn't need to be spelt out. Instead the parents alternated training or left Faith for short periods with the Grandparents in order to go back to the love of the mats and returned refreshed and happier for seeing their Jiu Jitsu family and getting the exercise.
On the days where Faith has joined the class she is, of course, the star of the class and the top student. She intently watches the classes without so much as a whinge, maybe the odd giggle. The only thing this little warrior doesn't like is when everyone stops for a stretch or rest. With the blessing of her mum it is evident even at this young age, Faith will want to help others with disabilities and be involved in charity work … Lets hope this little task master doesn't end up a coach!
So why are we telling you about Faith? Currently we know of no registered companies, community interest companies or charities that would be able to help Faith follow in her parents footsteps. An ambition for Faiths’ mum, hoping Faith will pursue “…Gymnastics or a Martial Art, if her lungs can handle it.” There is a wealth of well meaning people and clubs out there, few who would be realistically equipped and knowledgeable enough to deal with Faith, independent of her parents. Faith represents a goal for Adaptive Martial Arts (AMA) and we are blessed to have known her from her early months. AMA want to achieve a goal of a fully accessible gym and dojo, so when children like Faith grow up and throughout all stages of their life they have a facility which is equipped to monitor their health and make improvements. The important thing is that we will have the staff to assist the more physiologically challenged person, the facility for them to monitor their vital signs and the equipment, should they need it, to make it a safe environment for them, such as having oxygen available. Having this equipment onsite also means this will help the parent as Kirsty realistically comments how …”it’s difficult taking her out places with the feed pump and oxygen tank the amount of times Ive dropped both.” Primarily supporting the person with additional needs, consequently helps the carer. This is what inclusive means to AMA.
There could be no better fit for an Ambassador than Faith.
Incidentally, whilst we have introduced you to Faith, an incredibly apt name. She was always going to named Faith, she lived up to her name as the specialists frequently remind Kirsty and Clayton, she is a miracle child. One we are all blessed to know and to be able to watch flourish.
We are also delighted to let you know Kirsty, inspire of all the struggles she faces as mother and carer to gorgeous Faith, is going to California to compete in the IBJJF No-Gi World Championship.
GOOD LUCK KIRSTY!
Faith really has amazing role models in her parents.
If you would like to help Faith and her family to travel to Disney Paris, which is no easy feat with Faiths’ medical needs. Please click here: