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Physios perform Beyonce dance to celebrate teen’s inspirational recovery

The family of a teenager who spent almost 100 days in hospital share their delight, as their daughter’s remarkable recovery was celebrated with an iconic Beyonce dance by the physios who taught her to walk again.

Evie Evans
Evie Evans with Mum Sara

Thirteen year old Evie Evans was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge from her Essex home in July after she developed serious breathing problems.

Staff on the hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit couldn’t work out why the teenager wasn’t recovering from a respiratory infection or why her oxygen levels were so low. After suffering respiratory failure, Evie, who has Downs Syndrome, required a ventilator to breathe. She was so seriously ill doctors discussed a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order with her parents.

After six weeks in intensive care, Evie’s condition started to stabilise and slowly improve. To help the hospital staff better understand their daughter and what motivates her, Evie’s parents provided hospital staff with lots of information about the things that were important to Evie; this included her love of music.

The teen had to learn how to move, support herself, and walk again and she was treated by the paediatric physiotherapy teams at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH).

The Trust is working with the University of Cambridge and the mental health trust, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, to build a brand new specialist children’s hospital for the East of England – the only region in the UK without one.

A teenager in a wheelchair smiling with physio staff around her
Evie and the Addenbrooke's physio team

After spending almost 100 days in hospital, Evie made a remarkable recovery. The physios decided to take things a step further and promised Evie that when she took her first steps, they would perform a dance for her. The chosen dance was the iconic moves from Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’.

On Friday 13th October, despite ‘unlucky’ in superstition folklore, the teenager defied the odds and took her first strides.

Evie Evans during physio session
Evie during a physio session

After just a couple of practice sessions, the physiotherapy team fulfilled their promise to celebrate Evie’s amazing recovery and the young girl’s hard work and determination.

CUH Physio team dancing to single ladies
Evie's physio team dancing to Beyonce’s song ‘Single Ladies’ to celebrate Evie walking again

It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything like this and we all secretly enjoyed it! Evie had worked so hard, we were determined to do it. We were on such a high afterwards.

Helen Starace, CUH lead paediatric physiotherapist
A little girl in a wheelchair holding a pom pom
Evie watching the performance

Staff at the future Cambridge Children’s Hospital, including the specialist physio teams, will be dual trained in both physical and mental healthcare, giving them the skills and support they need to treat everything a child may be going through - whether that's visible or not - adopting a 'whole child' approach to caring.

The planned hospital will have two rehabilitation gyms, occupational therapy, music therapy and therapeutic play rooms, as well as terraces, courtyard gardens and a garden, which provide outdoor spaces with a variety of textures, surfaces, sights and sounds that can be incorporated in and enhance therapeutic activities.

The current spaces being used by the physio team at CUH were designed for adults.

Evie’s Mum Sara Evans said her daughter was delighted by the performance.

“The CUH physio team are fantastic. They have always been so kind and empathetic in their care.

“Every time they worked with Evie they were really tuned into her and were instrumental in her recovery. She worked harder for them.”

Artist's impression of new Cambridge Children's Hospital

Cambridge Children’s Hospital, which had its Outline Business Case approved in principle in October 2023, will have dedicated therapy spaces for children and young people like Evie, making it easier to provide specific tailored therapy in calm, age-appropriate environments.

The hospital will be a UK first to integrate mental and physical healthcare alongside research.