St Anne’s Porirua family ventures online to share their story

St Anne’s Porirua family ventures online to share their story

Raising twins is no mean feat, particularly when the two of them live with many lifelong disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy.  But not only are St Anne’s Porirua family, the Dove Londons, doing just that, but they’re telling the world about it through their website, social media presence and weekly YouTube clips.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would launch a YouTube channel, let alone launch one featuring my children!” mum Jessica London shared.

The parents, Jess and Tim, have put their careers on hold to care for their sons. And in the meantime they have almost finished building their tiny house bus, and have launched a YouTube channel.  The purpose is to give their boys the best opportunities and to access the innovative treatment happening in rehabilitation for children.

Zach and River enjoy the ball pit

In the past decade scientifically, medically, and therapeutically, there has been significant innovation taking place for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP).  Concepts like neuroplasticity has revealed how the brain has an amazing ability to change and heal, and is now widely accepted and more understood. For adults this understanding has revolutionized the treatment of those who have suffered strokes.

Sadly, much of this exciting work around rehabilitation is unavailable in New Zealand and many families, like the Dove Londons, are having to travel overseas for treatment.  This treatment includes items such as supportive suits, intensive physio blocks, electro stimulation, and sometimes surgery.  In the first episode of their weekly vlog, entitled Ordinary Extraordinary, the family head to Sydney for treatment.

However, dramatic results from the supportive suit garments enabled one of their sons to sit unassisted for the first time, so much so that their New Zealand hospital physio has successfully advocated for this to be introduced into the New Zealand system to offer to other families.

For the Dove London family big things like walking are still an unknown for their boys. However, a bigger goal they hold above everything else is to accept, love, and appreciate everything that their boys bring.

Another important goal for the family is to give their kids adventures, nature, and opportunities to experience the world like every other kid. Getting out and about with disability is not always easy, and not always accessible, but something that everyone should be able to do.

“Before I had my boys I had never seen a child in a walker, or even a wheelchair, out and about. So we are determined to continue to create opportunities for our kids to experience this wonderful world, and encourage the world around us to be more welcoming,” said father Tim London.

A casual glance at the family’s videos shows that they certainly are living a life full of adventure, one that beams rays of light to the world around them.  “The truth of it all is that our boys and the journey they are taking us on, has more pockets of joy and is full of more love and life than I ever knew I could experience. The normal ordinary things have been transformed, appreciated, and heightened like never before,” Jess shared.

About CP: Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children, with over 1 in 500 children in New Zealand diagnosed with CP. The Dove Londons want to share how the world can be more accessible and accepting of these amazing children who face so much, and overcome more than most do in a lifetime, simply by doing ordinary things.