Cerebral Palsy Battler is able to pick up his little brother again thanks to “lifechanging” Suit
Jesse Evans, 22-year-old Sales and Marketing consultant from Exmouth, weighed just 1 pound 10 when he was born and was given a 20% chance of survival.
Defying the odds, Jesse proved how much of a fighter he is, overcoming numerous resuscitations, and relying on oxygen tanks as a baby. Jesse is massively family orientated, being one of six siblings and owing his life to his mother who he describes as being his “number one supporter throughout everything”.
Jesse was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) from birth. CP is a lifelong condition which permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to or abnormalities inside the developing brain that disrupt the brains’ ability to control movement and maintain posture and balance. Growing up, Jesse was always determined not to let his CP dictate his life and has always gone the extra mile to achieve his goals. “CP affects everyone differently, for me it is the pain and fatigue aspect which has impacted me the most”, said Jesse. “I get pain below my knees which affects my walking and means I am limping with every step. Everyday things can cause me pain like showering. The worst is the pain in my back and shoulders, it is constant from the moment I wake up to going to sleep- some days taking deep breaths would hurt,” explained Jesse.
Although Jesse has progressed extremely well thanks to his determination and work ethic, he has a keen interest in developing technologies to help live his life with greater independence. In January 2023 Jesse’s mum sent him a link regarding an innovative invention - the Exopulse Mollii Suit. The Suit is an orthotic device which is designed to control the symptoms of spasticity- a debilitating movement disorder that’s common in people affected by CP, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions. They decided to go to Dorset Orthopaedic’s clinic in Ringwood for a trial of the Suit, where they met Orthotist, Kim Pickering. After a week’s home trial of the Suit, which Jesse wore every other day, he experienced significant improvements to his range of movement, which resulted in him keeping the Suit. “He has improved balance and was able to walk down a straight line and stand still without losing his balance”, explains Kim. “His arms were closer to his body, and he had a faster walking pace. He reported this made a difference in being able to walk holding a glass of water without spilling it. He also had improved standing balance. Lastly, he reported improvements in his pain with a reduction of 5 on the numeric pain scale after using the suit during the day, night and after activity”, explained Kim.
“Before wearing the Suit, when I was walking, I felt like I was fighting against my body with every step and had to chuck my whole body into it, now since wearing the Suit I don’t need to think about every step. My three-year-old brother use to crawl between my legs being cheeky as he knew I couldn’t pick him up however he forgets that since wearing the Suit, I now can”, Jesse expressed with a smile on his face. “It is lifechanging for me physically but mostly mentally. If you are in pain 24/7 since the day you were born, struggling, and fighting to fit in, it plays a huge mental part. I can now work more and do the things that I want too which has helped with my mental health.”
Since wearing the Suit, Jesse is looking forward to seeing further developments in the medical device field. “From a young age, I have worn leg straps and splints whereas now I have a Suit which does everything that none of them could do.” Life has been busy for Jesse, recently starting a new job with increased hours and moving into his own home. In his spare time, he loves reading and spending time with his family. Jesse has overcome an incredible amount with his tenacity and dedication to succeed. “I am not always going to be as happy as I wish, some days knock me down hard, but I know it's not about getting knocked down its about how you get back up. I do everything I can to prove to myself rather than anyone else and know that I deserve what I get. I want everything to be earned and not have anything handed to me,” expressed Jesse.