The Stories Behind the Babies 7: Kira
In June 2020 The Music Man Project released a video for my new song 'Have You Ever Stopped to Think'. It featured beautiful photographs of our musicians as babies. In this series of blogs, I delve behind the pictures to reveal the stories behind the babies...
Here is Kira's story, told by her mum...
Kira sustained a life changing brain injury when she was 2 months old and the doctors prepared her family for the worst. She spent about 6 weeks in hospital. On admission and during the first week it was 50/50 as to whether she would make it. She was placed on life support for the 1st week. She had severe bleeding and swelling in and outside of the brain and retinal bleeding in her eyes.
In the following weeks in hospital, Kira showed her determination and exactly how much of a fighter she is and pulled through, but she was left severely impacted with lots of needs. She has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, severe learning difficulties and is cortically blind.
The doctors said she would be unlikely to eat solid foods, communicate independently and would require 24/7 care. She would always require the use of a wheelchair and not be able to sit or stand independently.
I knew Kira’s Dad from our school days and we started our relationship in 2005. I first met Kira when she was 11 months old and immediately fell in love with her and her feisty personality. From that time on, we formed a very special mum and daughter bond.
Kira and I have worked very hard together with life skills and, while she still requires 24/7 care, it seems like she is determined to prove the doctors wrong. Kira needs her food to be blended but she continues to enjoy meal times orally. She cannot verbally express her needs but can occasionally use a switch to communicate choices. Whilst she cannot sit or stand independently, she uses a standing frame and a walking frame, in which she can take a couple of steps with the assistance of an adult.
Kira’s greatest passion in life is music. From a young age she has always enjoyed a variety of music and rhythms. I heard about The Music Man Project in 2013 and Kira has been attending every weekend since - it is the highlight of our week! There are not many activities or places Kira can attend but taking her to Music School each week has become our special time together.
Kira has performed on stage with the group at Southend's Cliffs Pavilion theatre, the London Palladium (twice!) and the Royal Albert Hall. She has developed a brilliant sense of rhythm, especially on African drums, and she uses switches to join in with her favourite songs at Music School. In 2017, Kira was awarded a Mencap Achievers Award for improved confidence with new musical skills at Music School.
The proudest moment of my life was when Kira closed her favourite song ‘Music is Magic’ using her switch on stage at the London Palladium.
During the recent months of lockdown it has been extremely hard for Kira as her daily routines have completely changed but as soon as she hears David or Jenny on #MMPWired (and we have been listening a lot!) her face lights up and she thoroughly enjoys herself joining in with her drum and switches.
Watch Kira in 'Have You Ever Stopped to Think?'