Flynn Rigby is a 13-year-old boy from Cairns, Australia who was born 16 weeks premature. His parents noticed that every stage of Flynn’s development was delayed. In particular, his fine motor skills and speech were affected. On consulting doctors and specialists, Flynn was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
However, Jenni and Frazer Rigby were determined to find a solution. After carrying out extensive research on their son’s condition, they decided that stem cell therapy would be the most effective. The expectation from the first stem cell treatment was that Flynn would be able to talk, which he was unable to do by the age of 9.
After undergoing stem cell therapy with Beike Biotechnology at Qingdao hospital in 2011, Flynn was able to talk for the first time. His family were so pleased with the results of the treatment that they came back for a second round of stem cell therapy at Better Being Hospital in July 2014.
One year on, we interviewed Flynn’s parents to see how he was doing.
Why did you choose Beike as a treatment option?
We chose Beike for Flynn’s treatment last year as we had already had a previous treatment with them in China in 2011 and were very happy with the results. We would certainly like to come back for more treatments in the future at Better Being Hospital.
Did you do any fundraising for the treatment?
Our medical insurance didn’t cover any costs. We fundraised for the two treatments in China and Thailand for Flynn. We joined a group for Australian families who have a loved one with a brain injury called The Developing Foundation, through which we could fundraise and hold events. The first time we raised $48,000AUD and the second time $30,000AUD (Australian Dollars) through running raffles, auction nights, walks and online fundraising.
How long did it take for you to see a difference in Flynn?
Flynn started to improve in concentration, language, eye contact and motor skill development from the time he finished his treatment and came home. He is still improving well now, 12 months on.
How is Flynn doing now? We saw from his Facebook support page that he enjoys running. Have there been any other changes such as this?
Flynn’s speech is much clearer. He can make longer sentences and is able to answer questions better now. His comprehension of what he reads and is told has enhanced. His writing has also improved. Activities such as swimming and running highlight significant progress in Flynn’s gross motor skills. He can maintain eye contact for longer when communicating with others. Flynn is able to concentrate better than before, and can focus more on tasks at school and in everyday life. Another significant improvement is in his sense of humour and social interaction.
What are your plans for the future?
Flynn is about to finish Primary School at this end of this year. He will start High School next year, where we hope he will continue to improve his academic knowledge, independence and social skills so that he will be able to be a functioning member of society in his adult life.
VIDEO: Flynn Rigby | Testimonial
The Rigby family have persevered through fundraising for two rounds of stem cell treatment and we are delighted to hear that stem cell treatment has continued to help Flynn.