Boy with cerebral palsy defies odds by learning to swim after spinal surgery

Harry Findlater, seven, has been swimming to help him recover from two life-changing operations.

A little Montrose boy with cerebral palsy has defied the odds by learning to swim a year after spinal surgery.

Harry Findlater, seven, has used swimming as a form of rehab, helping to boost his confidence and recovery from two life-changing operations.

He first began learning to swim aged five and has reaped the physical, social and emotional benefits of being in the pool.

Now he’s making a splash on his road to recovery and wants to inspire other children with disabilities to dive into their passions.

Harry said: “It has helped me stretch my arm and leg muscles and helped me learn. It’s really helped me.”

His swim teacher Heather Harrison, based at ANGUSAlive’s Montrose pool, has been delighted with his progress.

Heather, Learn to Swim teacher said: “When I first got him, he couldn’t do very much as he had just had his operation on his back, so we had to take it kind of gently.

“But now he’s managing near enough to swim the whole way across this little pool here. It’s absolutely fantastic, he just gets so excited because he is able to do it.”

For Harry’s mother Lizzie Findlater, watching Harry swim has been inspirational.

Lizzie said: “It’s amazing. You know, when you’re told that your baby has substantial brain damage, he may not be able to smile or things, your world kind of falls apart a little bit, because you just never know what’s going to happen.

Harry said swimming has ‘really helped’ him

“He has just overcome everything and he is so, so positive in everything that he does. He will try everything so yeah, it is amazing to see it.”

And Harry’s big brother Oliver has been by his side every step of the way from the hospital bed to cheering him on at the poolside.

Oliver, nine, said: “It’s amazing watching Harry being able to swim because he loves it – and he struggled when he started but has doing amazing now.

“He had six weeks off when we went down to London for four weeks. He had his spinal surgery and he wanted to get back as soon as he could. He’s gotten back now and he absolutely loves it.”

He added: “I’m a proud big brother, because he is just amazing.”

The Findlater family hope to inspire others to take to the water, regardless of disability or skill level.

Lizzie said: “Other children with disabilities – not just cerebral palsy, but lots of other disabilities – can now go and do what we are doing!”

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