Lancaster youngster with rare condition takes on swim challenge to help others

Photo Neil Cross
Nine year-old Sophie Corless has has a condition called erbs palsy and is doing a sponsored swim and has organised a charity funday all to raise money for the charity who helps her, pictured with mum Lisa, dad Martin and brothers Edward and Charlie
Photo Neil Cross Nine year-old Sophie Corless has has a condition called erbs palsy and is doing a sponsored swim and has organised a charity funday all to raise money for the charity who helps her, pictured with mum Lisa, dad Martin and brothers Edward and Charlie

A nine-year-old girl who has a rare nerve condition will swim for one hour to help other children like her.

Sophie Corless, from Skerton, Lancaster, is taking part in a sponsored swim to raise awareness of her condition, Erb’s Palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis.

Photo Neil Cross
Nine year-old Sophie Corless has has a condition called erbs palsy and is doing a sponsored swim and has organised a charity funday all to raise money for the charity who helps her

Photo Neil Cross Nine year-old Sophie Corless has has a condition called erbs palsy and is doing a sponsored swim and has organised a charity funday all to raise money for the charity who helps her

The condition, which is caused mainly due to birth trauma, can affect one or all of the five primary nerves that supply the movement and feeling to an arm.

For Sophie it has affected most of her right arm which prevents her from doing simple tasks like washing her hair and touching her shoulder.

“We didn’t know anything about it, we had never heard of it before,” said mum Lisa Corless.

“It is not something you can physically notice.

“Washing your hair, fastening your bra, hanging your washing up, changing a light bulb, she isn’t going to be able to do things like that.”

Lisa had a difficult birth with Sophie, who was born at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Like her eldest daughter, Amy, Sophie’s shoulder got stuck during labour and the midwife had to help Lisa push.

“They must have known it was going to be a struggle, I have got a small pelvis,” said Lisa.

“Her shoulder was stuck so all the nerves were damaged in her right hand side.

“We didn’t find out until she was six weeks old and had gone to see a specialist at Leeds General Infirmary.

“When they said it was this we were shocked, it was scary.

“You start to get upset and blame yourself, then comes the worry, especially when you research it online and see others having surgery.”

Sophie didn’t begin walking until she was 18 months old and Lisa and dad Martin had to do physiotherapy from the moment they brought her home from hospital.

“She had her right arm by her side all the time and every time we did her nappy change we had to move her right arm in special ways,” said Lisa.

“We have to keep the arm moving, if we don’t move the arm the brain will forget to send signals.”

Sophie, who goes to St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, doesn’t let the condition phase her and regularly gets involved in after school clubs like swimming, pottery and basketball.

However there are occasions when the condition does become tiring.

“She used to get a bit frustrated, upset sometimes when she struggles to do things, or when she has done a lot of writing at school and she gets tired,” said Lisa.

“But she has always been positive.”

Sophie is using her positivity to take part in the sponsored swim at DW Fitness in Morecambe to raise awareness of the condition and funds for the charity, The Erb’s Palsy Group.

So far she has raised more than £400. The non-stop swim takes place on Saturday November 11 under the guidance of her instructor Molly Dixon. If you wish to donate, you can do on the day of the swim.