Parents appeal for specialist tricycle for disabled daughter
The parents of a disabled girl from Armitage Bridge, in Huddersfield, are appealing to their local community to help them secure a specialist tricycle that will allow their daughter to play outside with her family and friends.
Caroline and Andrew Swales’ daughter, Emily, has an acquired brain injury that led to cerebral palsy and epilepsy. The conditions affect her mobility and have left her with a visual impairment.
Although 10-year-old Emily requires splints on her legs she has reasonable mobility and only uses her wheelchair after a seizure.
Due to her conditions Emily is unable to ride a standard bicycle and this makes it extremely difficult for her to play outside with her friends, and she can get lonely watching other children enjoying themselves outdoors.
Caroline, aged 54, says that the lack of suitable equipment to support Emily is beginning to affect her daughters social life. As she explained: “She’s at that age where she needs to get out more and develop her independence.
“She loves playing sport at school, particularly ball games like basketball, and she also attends a horse riding club and goes to specialist swimming classes.
”All these things help to keep her fit and develop her muscles.”
Andrew, aged 52, says that it’s important that he and Caroline keep their daughter active. He said: “We don’t want Emily’s condition to affect her to the extent that she’s missing out on doing things with her friends.
“She’s recently moved from a mainstream school to Southgate Special School, in Almondbury, and for the first time she’s now got a small group of friends who she needs to be able to mix with outside of school.”
The school has its own specialist tricycle that Emily enjoys riding and her parents went online to find out more about the specialist equipment.
They soon identified a tricycle that was suitable to Emily’s needs but it cost an eye-watering £1,932.
“That’s way out of our budget,” exclaimed Caroline. “So I went online again to see if there was anyone who could help us and I was delighted when I discovered Caudwell Children.”
Caudwell Children is a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, allowing them access to the services, equipment, therapies and treatments that they need to lead happy, active and independent lives.
And now, thanks to fundraising support from Caudwell Children, Caroline and Andrew are looking to raise the money needed for the tricycle.
The charity has created a Just Giving page for Emily and they are approaching other charitable trusts, grant giving organisations, rotary clubs and masons lodges in order to raise the cash.
Because of her visual impairment Caudwell Children has recommended a tricycle that incorporates a parent handle to ensure Emily’s safety.
Andrew says he is desperate to raise the funds for the tricycle and hopes that local people can support the family’s efforts. He said: “I’d like to appeal to the public and the business community and ask them to give us a helping hand.
“With their support we can make life so much better for Emily and she would finally be able to play outside with her four older brothers.
“They’ve all left home but they’d love to come and ride with her on their bikes, it would be a dream come true if we could make it happen.”
Caroline says that the specialist tricycle will allow her daughter to do much more than simply play with her friends and family. As she explained: “The trikes are specially designed to assist disabled children in their physical development and rehabilitation, and they are engineered to make pedalling that much easier.
“So whilst Emily is having fun she will also be improving her core strength and co-ordination, developing muscle tone in her legs and improving her gross motor skills.”
Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, said: “It can be heart-breaking for parents when their disabled child is unable to participate with family and friends.
“A specialist tricycle not only benefits the child, it has a positive impact on the whole family, allowing them to get out of the house and do things together.
“Unbelievably, there are an estimated 70,000 children in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment.
“Emily’s case highlights the support that is needed for children with a condition that affects their mobility.
“I want members of the public and the business community to do whatever it takes to support the family through their Just Giving page.
“With their help Emily can get the equipment that she so desperately needs to improve her health and wellbeing.”
You can support Emily through her Just Giving page here.
You can find out how Caudwell Children could support your child here.