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- Wroughton nurse takes on Superhero Series Challenge to help her disabled daughter communicate
- Poppy Alexander, 10, suffered severe brain damage when she was born in 2010. She is registered blind, with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and learning difficulties, needs full trunk support and her condition is classed as life-limiting.
- Despite this, Poppy enjoys sensory experiences such as being out in a bike trailer, float or wheelchair, and has even been surfing.
- She is unable to use her hands or voice to communicate, however, has been able to ‘speak’ using borrowed eye-gaze equipment. Her parents Joanna, 39, and Rod, who live in Wroughton with Poppy and their three other children, are keen to raise almost £9,000 so that Poppy can have her own machine.
- ‘Poppy will follow something like a cat across the room with her eyes,’ says Joanna, who works as a bank nurse when she can around caring for her children. ‘She uses an eye gaze machine at school, but not on a very regular basis. She has a borrowed machine at the moment, and recently said ‘big balloons’ when we had some balloons in for a birthday.’
- ‘To be able to progress and get the most out of life she needs to be able to use the machine regularly, which is why we are fundraising for one.’
- Joanna and Poppy are taking part in the Marvel At Home Superhero Series Challenge this summer. In spite of her limited movement, Poppy enjoys being active and the fundraising programme reflects this.
- It includes a 20 mile walk from Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head and back, a 5k walk, another walk up Pen y Fan, sailing on the lakes and swimming which pulling Poppy in a dinghy in July. In August the family will be cycling, skiing, surfing and stand up paddle boarding with Poppy.
- At Home Superhero Series Challenge is a countrywide disability sports event which encourages people to set their own challenges – from 100 metres to 1,000 km or more – and complete them however they want, when they want, between July 17 and Aug 14. The event is usually a mass participation event taking place at Dorney Lake in Windsor, one of the main sites featured in the 2012 London Olympics. However, it is continuing its ‘At Home’ theme for a second year, due to the pandemic.
- The family is supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope who are also a named charity partner of the Marvel Superhero Series for a third year running, helps families fundraise for children like Poppy with healthcare needs and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.
- ‘Like any parents, we want Poppy to be able to reach her full potential, and we believe this machine would help her get the most out of life.’
- Separately, Joanna is creating a web resource for other parents of children with disabilities, as well as campaigning for the difference between children at risk of abuse and children with additional needs to be categorised differently within the social care system.
- Tree of Hope helps families to fundraise for children’s operations, therapies and equipment that are unobtainable via the NHS and provides access to a registered charity providing more effective and efficient ways of fundraising, unlike traditional crowdfunding. To donate to Poppy’s fund, visit https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/poppypopsfund/
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