ISABELLA Petersen refuses to use the word “can’t” when it comes to her cerebral palsy.
The year six Swansea Public student’s calves and thighs were pricked with dozens of needles last month as part of regular botox injections to improve movement and reduce discomfort.
Just hours later, she took to the stage and performed five dances as part of a concert.
“I love dancing with all my school friends and didn’t want to let my teacher down,” she said.
“When I get older I might not be able to walk and so I have to do it now.
“I never want to say ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’. I always say ‘I can’.”
A decade after her parents were told she would never walk, Isabella, 11, is preparing to participate in the Krazy Kosci Klimb on February 17 to raise funds for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
She is one of just 20 people with cerebral palsy chosen to walk the summit track from Charlotte Pass to the top of Mount Kosciuszko.
Her support team of six including her mother Darlene and physiotherapist Kate O’Connor will wear tutus.
Isabella and Ms O’Connor have been working for two years to ensure Isabella can cartwheel over the finish line.
“And she’ll do it, you just watch,” Ms Petersen said.
“She’s so determined to see this through.
“When we were talking about whether she would be chosen to participate, she said ‘You do know it’s a public mountain don’t you? If I don’t get in I’ll be doing it anyway’.”
Ms Petersen said Isabella was born 8.5 weeks premature and received her diagnosis aged two.
After being told her daughter would never walk, Ms Petersen taped her feet to bike pedals and pushed the cycle to increase Isabella’s muscle movement.
“They said she’d never ride a bike without training wheels and she did, never use a skipping rope and she did, or play soccer with her friends and she did. Nothing stops her,” she said.
“At her school’s opt-in cross country she was two laps behind her friends, who waited while everyone went back into class and they all did an extra lap together.”
Isabella has raised about $7000 for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, mostly through regular raffles at Swansea Workers Club.
The club will host a major raffle and fun day on January 27 to support Isabella’s campaign.
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