NBCC Whakapapa Warrior Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson

If anyone embodies the combination of belonging and strength it is the amazing Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson.

Her smile alone makes us want her to be involved with No Boundaries. Born 11 weeks prematurely she was diagnosed at the age of 1 with Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy the most advanced of all CP diagnosis.

Leonie’s only mobility as a baby, toddler and young child was to move on her back by using her head.

In February 2019, Leonie underwent a procedure called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), a minimally invasive spinal operation that can permanently reduce leg spasticity and eventually help with independent walking in children with CP.

Whilst the NHS have helped with much of her treatment many of the necessary expenses such as physio and some surgery are not available on the NHS and so in 2018 #TeamLeonie was set up to start fundraising for life changing spinal surgery to help Leonie walk one day.

In July 2021 Leonie underwent femur osteotomies and knee realignment and hamstring surgery. For the first time ever, her twisted, frogged legs became straight legs, or ‘new legs’ as Leonie calls them.

Today, Leonie can pull herself upright via a special chair, can sit upright, can ride a specialised three wheel bicycle. She still cannot stand unaided or walk, but Team Leonie supporters are tirelessly determined to ensure that miracle happens one day.

Throughout all of this and on a daily basis Leonie has the most engaging smile and love of life. The strength of this bright young girl is humbling and inspirational at the same time and we are proud and honoured that her mother (Vicky Hadley) has accepted our offer to make her our first Whakapapa Warrior.

Leonie loves her cricket and is often alongside Vicky in the nets giving her advice.

The charity Just4Children have a Just Giving page to help Leonie and we have made this one of the causes that we will be supporting.