WHILE most children take playing on their bikes for granted, little Chloe Errington can only dream of joining her friends on rides.
The five-year-old, who was born premature after 29 weeks and weighed just 2lb 4oz, suffers from cerebral palsy, with severe muscle imbalance and mobility problems.
The condition, which affects all four limbs, means she is unable to walk independently and needs a tripod or walker to get around.
Now, as she celebrated her birthday at the weekend, family and friends have launched a £1,000 charity drive to buy her a specially-designed tricycle.
“She was in special care for quite a while,” said mum Gemma, 28. “Being premature, she was slightly behind with her walking, so it wasn’t until she was two when she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.”
Chloe, who attends Easington Lane Primary School and undergoes physiotherapy at the Children’s Centre, in Durham Road, Sunderland, also suffers from autism, which affects her social interaction skills.
“The tricycle will allow her to go out and play with her friends,” said full-time carer Gemma. “She is getting to the age now when a lot of her friends are getting bikes for Christmas, so hopefully we can buy her a tricycle by the Spring and summer when the weather is nicer.”
The Carousel Tricycle, which is not funded by the health service, will also help strengthen her muscles, provide cardio-vascular exercise, and improve her co-ordination.
“The tricycle has to be specially made because of her condition,” said step-dad David, 31, who works part-time as a chef. “It has to take into account her mobility, balance and muscular problems.
“Unfortunately, we can’t get funding for the tricycle and there is nowhere local to hire one.
“It will make a massive difference to Chloe and we intend to donate it to the Children’s Centre when she out grows it.”
Chloe is expected to undergo a major operation later this year in a bid to improve her condition.
“I would love a bike as all my friends now play on bikes and ride to school on them,” she said.
Beauley Lodge Care Home, in Fence Houses, is spearheading a fund-raising drive, including a Pie and Pea night on January 27, 6pm, in aid of Chloe.
For more information about the campaign or to make a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.