The mother of a Lincoln teenager living with a rare medical condition is fundraising for a special wheelchair to improve her daughter’s quality of life.
Eloise Needham, known by many as Ellie, is 17 and has epilepsy caused by a rare disorder called Cortical Dysplasia. It occurs before a child is born, when developing brain cells or neurones fail to reach the parts of the brain for which they are genetically destined.
When Ellie was just six months old, the right-side of her brain was removed to stop her seizures being more serious. She still gets seizures every night, but they are now more minor and can now be controlled by medication.
Her condition means that she struggles to communicate and walk, and she is weaker on the left-side of her body, with no use of her left hand. She can’t see through the left-hand side of both eyes, only forward and right, but this doesn’t stop her from being “full of fun and very cheeky”.
Ellie’s laughter is a big source of communication for her. Her mother can tell her different emotions by the sounds she makes, and the gestures she makes with her hand and fingers.
Ellie currently uses an NHS wheelchair at home and for when she attends St Francis Special School in Lincoln, but it isn’t robust enough.
As she leans quite a lot, her mother Caroline Needham wants to get her a better wheelchair – the Trikinetic GTE Mark II – to improve her quality of life, but it costs £5,350 and extra support to help with her left knee is also required.
Caroline has so far raised more than £650 via a GoFundMe page and hopes the better wheelchair will make it easier to take her daughter who loves the great outdoors on more trips.
Caroline said she contacted a wheelchair manufacturer called Recare who recently agreed to bring out the chair for Ellie to trial for the day, which was a big success.
Caroline told The Lincolnite: “Ellie loves places like the beach and woodland and listening to the birds. We trialled the chair and it was amazing.
“We went for a little stroll in the rain and she was laughing and looked so comfortable. This chair can also travel on sand and other terrains.
“It would make the world of difference for me, just to be able to pick it up and put it in the vehicle and move her about easier. This chair is also so much lighter and seeing her trial it made me realise just how much it would change her life.
“I am blown away by the donations so far and amazed by the response, people have been fabulous. I also wanted to thank Recare for taking time out to spend with Ellie and giving her an opportunity to trial the wheelchair.”
When asked to describe Ellie, her mum added: “She is full of fun and very cheeky. She is very social and likes going to the cafe and normal every day things.
“This chair (that her mother is fundraising for) will keep her happy and allow her to keep accessing the things she loves.”
To donate for Ellie’s wheelchair, use the GoFundMe page here.