‘LITTLE Hero’ Georgie Gibbs has been selected to win a national swimming award for her accomplishments in the water.
The three-year-old from Worcester, who was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy at 12 months old, has been selected as a ‘Little Hero’ by the UK’s leading baby and toddler swim school Water Babies.
With Georgie’s muscles being tight from the waist down, her range of movement is limited and she is unable to walk unaided. She uses a wheelchair to get about, or a frame for short distances but when Georgie’s parents had begun swimming lessons with Water Babies before her diagnosis, they have proved invaluable.
Celebrating children with incredible accomplishments in the water, the Little Heroes awards will give Georgie a trophy and prize bundle. She will also be featuring on Water Babies’ social media as an inspiration to other little swimmers.
Georgie’s mum Clare said: “Swimming in warm water allows Georgie’s muscles to relax and free her from some of the pain she experiences every day. Her legs loosen and she gains freedom from her disability, something that will always be out of reach on land. Water Babies is also a great equalizer for Georgie, outside the pool she is disabled, but in the pool she’s like all the other children – nobody knows she has cerebral palsy when she’s in the water.”
Paul Thompson, Owner and Founder of Water Babies commented, “Georgie’s determination to succeed in the pool stood out for us and she is a very worthy winner. We have been taken aback by our Little Heroes and impressed with all the brave little splashers out there. We want to raise awareness of the importance of children learning to swim at as early an age as possible. Our research showed that the average age children start swimming lessons is four years old and 40% of children haven’t had a lesson by the age of 12, when swimming lessons can actually take place from birth. In fact, over the last few years a dozen of our Water Babies have actually saved themselves from drowning, some of whom were just two years old!”
For the past eight weeks, Georgie’s family has fundraised £20,000 in order to take her to the US for an operation that could result in her learning to walk.
Water Babies classes are available throughout the UK. To find your nearest class, visit www.waterbabies.co.uk.