Helping those impacted by CP in maximizing his or her independence.
The Alyssa V Phillips Foundation
Meet Alyssa Phillips
Alyssa has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy as well as dystonia and athetoid (a movement disorder) as a result of a lack of oxygen during birth. At the age of 18 months, Alyssa was finally diagnosed with cerebral palsy after not meeting developmental milestones. Cerebral palsy (CP) currently affects 800,000 people in the U.S. alone, and there are 10,000 babies with CP being born each year. CP is a non-progressive brain injury that can occur before, at, or after birth, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Causes of CP can be any one of numerous reasons including trauma at birth; as in Alyssa's case.
The first year after Alyssa's diagnosis left my husband and I scrambling for answers and treatments from a myriad of sources. Her diagnosis meant hours of countless travel, doctors’ consults, appointments, therapies, procedures, Botox injections, orthotic braces (legs), etc... While CP is non-progressive, as Alyssa's body grows the spasticity (severe muscle tightness) impact her growing bones and has to be managed to prevent orthopedic issues, thus the continued requirement for medical information and care. In this regard, her therapies attempt to keep her moving and strengthen her as she continues to try to catch up with typically developing peers. Alyssa endured Botox injections directly into various leg muscles from the age of 2 to 6, then at the age of 6, Alyssa underwent Selective Percutaneous Myofascial Lengthening, (SPML) Percutaneous Muscle / Tendon Lengthening to reduce spasticity. At the age of 9, she underwent SPML once again to reduce spasticity. Since this time Alyssa has walked independently; however, she does require the use of a mobility scooter for long distances to conserve energy.
We are very blessed with those around us, giving us constant love and support. As we look to the future we cannot help but appreciate all of the progress Alyssa has made so far. There were times early on when medical professionals thought she would never walk. Alyssa has taken on her challenges with a positive attitude and pushed herself to climb every mountain she has faced with a smile.
Alyssa's 15 and 21-year-old sisters, Ashley and Nicole, are her biggest cheerleaders: They have learned more than some people do in a lifetime about sharing and giving.
Alyssa 3 Years Old
Alyssa and her dog Rusty delivering donations to a local canine group.
CP Prep for Life Conference 2015.
Alyssa's favorite quote is: "Be the change you wish to see in the world" Gandhi
(Photo by Jenny Sawyer photography)
SPML surgery age 6
Alyssa is 23 years old. She enjoys riding horses, swimming, skiing, movies, hanging out with friends, and most importantly loves Jesus. She is very passionate about giving back to her community and advocating. for individuals with disABILITIES. Alyssa is the Executive Director of the Alyssa V Phillips Foundation and is currently in her Senior year at Abilene Christian University for her Bachelor of Social Work.