01 Dec Fund counts down to a fantastic Christmas
THIS Christmas, children with disabilities across the North East will have their wishes granted by the Chronicle’s Sunshine Fund.
The charity, which will supply specialised equipment to one child every day throughout December, aims to make this Christmas that little bit better for disabled children and their families. Five-year-old Ella Nichol will be the first to receive an early Christmas present this week. Ella, who suffers from an undiagnosed condition which causes hyper mobility in her joints, will receive a walker worth £2,322 to help her move around independently.
Her mum Hayley, 33, said she couldn’t believe it when she heard the news. She said: “I was overwhelmed when we heard. I’m so happy and so grateful. It’s going to make a massive difference to Ella’s life.
“She started using a walker on and off at school but it’s shared between a few of them who need it to be able to get around so she can’t use it all the time. As soon as she started using it we noticed a difference straight away. It’s just helped her so much. She loves being able to move around, it gave her some independence finally.”
Ella, who goes to the Hadrian School – which caters specifically for children with additional needs, is unable to walk without assistance. But the happy five-yearold, from Walker, has never been given a solid diagnosis by a doctor. Mum Hayley said that for her and her husband Wayne, a painter and decorator, it often feels as if they have to shout to be heard to get doctors to take notice of their daughter’s condition.
She said Ella, who also has a big sister called Amy, 14, was like a little forgotten child when she was born: “We always thought there was something wrong, because she always felt very shaky in our arms and her joints were always turning. She also had dif-ficulty eating when we put her on to solid foods, which made her poorly. “But the doctors kept telling me that I was just comparing her to my other daughter and there was nothing really the matter. But I knew they were wrong.
“It wasn’t until she was over one that any of the doctors even acknowledged that there was probably something wrong. It was so frustrating knowing something wasn’t right, but not being able to help her. No one would listen to us. She was like the little forgotten child.” Ella, who will be six in January, has had tests over the course of her young life to try to determine what is wrong, but all have come back negative.
Hayley said Ella has come on leaps and bounds since going to the Hadrian School, adding: “She’s such a happy little girl, she smiles 24/7.”