Brooklyn Gibney is a typical second grader. She’s bright, loves to read, and has many friends. She’s also a sports nut. Brook loves basketball, softball, and especially University of Oklahoma football. In fact, watching a Sooners’ game with her “Poppa” is one of her favorite things to do.
She’s a happy, eight year old girl…who happens to have cerebral palsy.
A Mother’s Intuition
Brooklyn was born eleven weeks pre-mature. She spent the first month and a half of her life in a hospital in Oklahoma City. Growth delays were expected. But as Brooklyn grew, her mother, Misty, knew something wasn’t right. She intuitively knew that Brooklyn’s condition was more than just “developmental delays,” as the doctors called it. At her daughter’s routine eighth month check up, Misty learned that Brooklyn had cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movement, muscle control and coordination.
Brooklyn has been through quite a lot in her short life. To help her deal with this painful, and at times, debilitating muscle condition, Brooke has had arm crutches and walkers, hip and leg braces, painful Botox injections to paralyze the leg muscles so they won’t contract, an operation to cut and lengthen her leg muscles, as well as physical and occupational therapy.
No one works harder supporting Brooklyn than her mother Misty, conducting endless hours of research so she can get the best medical care possible for her daughter. Her advice to other parents: “Never give up. Remember you are your child’s best advocate. Get your child as far as possible emotionally, physically, and mentally so they’re strong enough and prepared enough for life without you. You have to give them the foundation to grow.”
Misty admits that it can get tough sometimes and values the support she receives from others. “As a parent, don’t ever feel guilty…for the times you want to give
up or you can’t get something for your child. Know that you can’t tackle everything. Accept that you need help. Talk to family and friends. You’re not alone.”
Today, Brook enjoys a normal childhood and is mainstreamed at her local elementary school. She’s well known around the classrooms for her positive spirit. Her zeal for life has touched teachers, parents and kids of all ages.
Brooklyn is currently using forearm crutches and a walker. She’s been working with a physical therapist for the past two years who has helped her make incredible progress. She’s actually starting to take steps alone, without her crutches or braces.
“Never give up, try hard and believe in yourself,” declares Brooklyn with a contagious smile. What profound words of wisdom from such a young girl. One day Brook would like to be a pediatrician or pursue her love of athletics as a sports commentator.