A young “fun-loving” girl has had her dreams of becoming a gymnast quashed as she battles chronic debilitating health issues.
Lila Moorfoot, 11, was diagnosed with the rare and debilitating neurological condition Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) after a gymnastic injury that caused stress fractures in her foot two years ago.
CPRS sees a person suffer either acute or chronic prolonged pain and inflammation following an injury to an arm or leg.
CRPS has no cure, but remission is possible.
Lila, whose family comes from Geelong, underwent extensive rehabilitation at the Royal Children’s Hospital together with the Victorian Pediatric Rehabilitation Service and Geelong Hospital following her diagnosis.
Despite making progress after 17 months of intensive therapy where she could walk with crutches, Lila’s condition deteriorated rapidly following the discovery of new stress fractures in her foot.
The young girl who dreamt of being a gymnast was now once again experiencing unbearable pain worse than before.
Family friend Anthony Hewitt launched a GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of helping the Moorfoot family continue her treatment at Spero Clinic in Arkansas, US, known for its world-renowned leader in treatment for CRPS.
“Lila went from being a bright, bubbly, active and athletic little gymnast, training 16 hours a week, partaking in the competitive sport she loved, to living in the most crippling, severe pain, 24 hours a day – unable to touch, move, stand or walk on her foot (and leg) without being in excruciating pain,” Mr Hewitt said in the fundraising post.
“Lila endured months sleeping at the foot of her parents bed, unable to wear a sock or clothing, or even put a sheet over her foot/leg on account of the agonising pain she was experiencing.
“At its worst, even the slightest movement, touch, water, wind or minute bump in the road would elicit the most unbearable pain, with her limb turning purple and becoming ice cold.”
Lila’s mother, Stacey Moorfoot, told the Geelong Advertiser the excruciating pain her daughter experiences is also now causing her to faint.
“(The pain is) too much for her body to tolerate and manage,” Mrs Moorfoot said.
“Her body’s way of coping with it is by shutting down to try and protect her from the intolerable pain.
“She passed between 20 to 30 times today.”
Mr Hewitt said the Moorfoot family now are seeking treatment in America in the hopes of relieving Lila’s immeasurable pain.
Her therapy includes a variety of appointments, ranging from neuromuscular rehabilitation to vagus nerve stimulation and cold laser therapy.
“They left with the hope that this treatment program would help Lila fully recover and reach a state of remission ultimately allowing her to return home to Australia pain free, having regained the ability to walk again,” he said.
“Their wish is to see Lila live a normal life as a happy and healthy little girl, with her glowing smile and beautiful spirit once again able to shine.”
The family have so far spent $200,000 working to help Lila but Mr Hewitt said the treatment costs continue to mount.
“Over her many months of gruelling rehabilitation therapy, in the face of adversity, withstanding pain beyond comprehension, Lila has given it her all, remaining completely committed to her recovery,” Mr Hewitt said.
“She has shown a determination, strength, courage, tenacity and perseverance well beyond her years, most recently by continuing with therapy, despite suffering from a seizure and passing out multiple times a day as a result of the intense pain she is in.
“The intolerable pins/needles, burning, squeezing, crushing and aching more than her young body can handle.
“My hope is that this campaign will provide people with an opportunity to assist with some of the expensive costs associated with treatment, to show Lila and the whole Moorfoot family how much they mean to us.”
Mr Hewitt said Lila dreams she’ll be able to rollerskate, play with her brothers and friends and walk her dog, and of one day hopefully having the ability to return to gymnastics.
“Lila’s incredible, positive attitude and motivation to keep going, persevering and pushing through the pain is truly admirable and testament to her character as the inspiring, resilient and brave little girl she is,” he said.
“Lila’s goal is to fully recover and reach remission. She is working towards regaining functional movement of her foot, with hopes of being able stand and eventually to walk unaided.”
CRPS affects about 5,000 people in Australia annually.
The GoFundMe campaign has a target of $150,000 and has currently raised more than $11,000 at the time of publication.