November 6, 2021 7.38 am

Lincoln teen loving life in new special wheelchair after fundraising support

A lovely ending to the story

A Lincoln teenager living with a rare medical condition has been all smiles after the purchase of a new wheelchair, funded by fundraising campaigns, which has made enjoying the great outdoors a more positive experience.

Eloise Needham, known by many as Ellie,  has epilepsy caused by a rare disorder called Cortical Dysplasia. It occurs before birth, when developing brain cells or neurones fail to reach the correct parts of the brain. And at just six months old, Ellie had to have the right-side of her brain removed to stop her seizures being more serious.

Her mother Caroline Needham set up a fundraising page to get her a better wheelchair as the NHS one she was using was not robust enough. She raised more than £4,500 and, after reading about her story in The Lincolnite, Craig Collins decided to take part in a strongman challenge set up by Dave Johnson, and added over £1,500 to the total.

Eloise at home and happy in her new wheelchair.

Local barber Frank Connell raised extra donations by selling signed prints of the Three Sisters signed by George ‘Johnny’ Johnson as the total rose to around £6,300. This was enough to buy the Trekinetic GTE Mark II wheelchair, with around £700 left over for any maintenance and those fundraising wanted the family to use it to go on trips too.

There were some delays in getting the wheelchair before it was delivered to Eloise on October 21. Eloise, who turns 18 on Sunday, was unable to use it straight away as an anti-tamper belt needed to be fitted, but less than a week later she was outside having a great time.

The new wheelchair has given Eloise a happier quality of life.

Money from fundraising helped Eloise’s mum to buy her daughter’s new Trekinetic GTE Mark II wheelchair.

Her mum took her to Whisby Nature Reserve on October 26, saying: “It was lovely and she was laughing down by the water’s edge. She was so comfortable and happy, it was really lovely to see and the wheelchair is worth its weight in gold.

“She has smiled a lot and happy to get in and out of the wheelchair. It is a one stop show and does everything. We can go to the beach and woods, and have been to Tattershall Castle and out for dog walks (with the family dog Mr Kipper). It’s fabulous and has changed her life.”

Caroline also wanted to say a big thank you to her family, everyone who helped to fundraise towards the wheelchair, and to The Lincolnite for helping to promote her daughter’s story.

Craig Collins raised over £1,500 towards a new special wheelchair for Eloise Needham. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

She added: “I want to thank all my family for their support and Frank Connell and Craig have been amazing, as has everyone that has put in to raise this for Ellie, they are inspiring.

“I didn’t think we’d be here with the chair this quickly. I didn’t realise people would be so wonderfully generous in helping so greatly, which is so heartwarming.

“Ellie laughs a lot in it so I think it is comfortable for her. It is multi-functional as we can even get to the shops in it and she even went to show it off at St Francis School (which she attends) on Wednesday (November 3). Her friends said wow, as did the staff.

“Everyone who is in a wheelchair needs one and I wish I could make sure everyone has one. Everyone deserves this accessibility.”

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