Fundraisers buy bike for brave Sunderland tot

Rubie O'Brien trying out a model of her new bike.
Rubie O'Brien trying out a model of her new bike.

A brave Sunderland tot who has battled with health problems since the day she was born is overjoyed after generous fundaraisers pulled together to get her a specially designed bike.

Two-year-old Rubie O’Brien has spent nearly three quarters of her life in plaster as she copes with spina bifida.

Rubie O'Brien in hospital with mum Ciara Hefferman after she was born.

Rubie O'Brien in hospital with mum Ciara Hefferman after she was born.

The youngster, from Norton Road, Southwick, has already undergone five operations and required numerous trips to hospital.

But now little Rubie has been given a boost after generous fundraisers have raised £3,029 for a Tom Cat hand propelled trike to help her get about.

And parents Ciara Heffernan, 26, and dad Kent O’Brien, 27, who also have daughter Lillie, five, said they were delighted for Rubie.

Mum Ciara said: “We have managed to get the full amount needed for the new bike and we have just ordered it so we are looking forward to that coming.

Brave Rubie O'Brien in hospital after her hip and knee operation in September.

Brave Rubie O'Brien in hospital after her hip and knee operation in September.

“When Rubie tried the model she was thrilled with it, but I don’t think she will understand until it comes.

“The bike is hand propelled as she can’t use her legs.”

The bike, which will take six weeks to arrive, should last until Rubie is an adult.

Ciara, a midwifery student, added: “We set up a Go Fund Me page about two months ago which has raised £300 and we also had a £800 donation from charity Community Corner, who have helped us once again.

Rubie O'Brien at the charity fundraiser for her new bike.

Rubie O'Brien at the charity fundraiser for her new bike.

“Her auntie, Dina O’Brien, also raised funds from a few sponsored runs and her granddad Kim O’Brien raised around £300.

“We also held a fundraiser with friends and family with a raffle which raised £1,000.”

The bike will be sparkly pink like Rubie’s wheelchair and mum Ciara said she was so excited to see her daughter ride a bike.

She said: “We just want her to be able to do things that other kids are doing.

Rubie O'Brien with mum Ciaran Heffernan and sister Lillie at the charity fundraiser for her new bike.

Rubie O'Brien with mum Ciaran Heffernan and sister Lillie at the charity fundraiser for her new bike.

“We want to give her hobbies and interest and keep her busy.”