Team Lala going the distance

Team Lala going the distance
Posted on Tue 8 Dec 2020

Hi, my name is Jacqui Wisemantel.

I run my own event management company and I have two daughters – Lara (14) and Chelsea (11).

Lara was born with cerebral palsy, left-side hemiplegia. She sits between GMFCS Level I and Level II.

She can walk unassisted, although she is sometimes wobbly when climbing stairs and needs a handrail. Because of her hemiplegia, she has no fine motor skills in her left hand and she experiences spasticity and dystonia.

She used to require Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFOs), although she doesn’t wear them anymore, and she had calf-lengthening surgery two years ago.

Lara currently receives physiotherapy and occupational therapy at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. She’s used all services at some stage or another.

For me, the 20/twenty challenge was a way to give back.

Initially, it was about raising awareness of cerebral palsy and the money side of things wasn’t important. But that has changed over the years.

Lara was two years old the first year we got involved. We called ourselves ‘Team Lala’ after her nickname.

We had two teams. My mum, husband, brother and sister-in-law joined us. Together, we raised $20,000, smashing our original goal of $8000!

We were amazed – it far exceeded any of our expectations.

The next year, we had four teams and our friends started asking if they could get involved. It’s since grown to 40-50 people, and our family and friends continue to come back every year.

To date, Team Lala have raised $850,000 to purchase equipment for children living with cerebral palsy and fund vital research.

We are lucky that Lara hasn’t required a lot of complex equipment, but even her AFO’s cost $1000 each. The small things add up overtime. And young children obviously grow as they get older, so we need to buy new equipment every year.

There are big waitlists. We knew some families were waiting ridiculous lengths of time for life-changing equipment.  They might order something, and by the time it arrived, their child had outgrown it or it needed to be modified.

People need to understand the difference a vital piece of equipment makes to the child and their family. It could be something as simple as an AFO, all the way up to motorised wheelchairs or eye-gaze technology which help children to explore the world and communicate.

In Lara’s case, the AFOs improved her balance, and helped her walk with her foot on the ground rather than walking on her toes. Without them, she was at risk of further complications in her hips and back.

We are so incredibly proud of what Team Lala has achieved. And we can say, hand on heart, all the money raised goes directly to kids with CP.


If you would like to sponsor Team Lala, visit 20twentychallenge.org.au/sponsor

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