Teenager born blind with cerebral palsy has become climbing European Silver medallist

Proud mother, Amanda, was advised to turn off her daughter’s life support machine at her birth but is now delighted with her daughter’s spectacular achievements.

Reanne Racktoo, 18, is registered blind and has cerebral palsy. When she was born, her mother Amanda knew immediately that something was wrong, following a traumatic birth. Amanda was told that Reanne would have ‘no quality of life’ and was advised to turn off her life support. She is now exceptionally glad that she remained optimistic as Reanne is thriving and has won collection of gold, silver and bronze medals from various international climbing competitions. Recounting the birth, Amanda says: “Tests revealed damage to her brain and mild cerebral palsy. “She’d suffered three huge brain bleeds and I can’t even begin to describe the turmoil as each day unfolded.”
When a doctor delivered the sad news to Amanda, she was defiant. “I told [the doctor] that as long as she is fighting please fight for her. If she gives up, we give up.” Reanne did keep fighting and became stronger and healthier, despite having to walk with callipers due to her limited mobility. At her school, St Vincent’s School in Liverpool, she took up climbing after a visit from an organisation called ‘On This Roc’. Although her mother was initially concerned about her daughter taking up climbing, Reanne soon demonstrated her passion and talent for the sport. She was invited to compete for the GB para climbing team at the world championships in Paris in 2012 and has won many medals since, notably including silver in the Chamonix European Championships in 2013. Amanda now feels like “the luckiest mum in the world” and she encourages others in similar situations to not ever give up and to “always remember tomorrow is another day”.
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