Echo readers are being urged to help give a disabled girl her independence.
Like most 10-year-olds, Jasmine Ather-Elder loves playing outside with friends, but having cerebral palsy means she struggles to get about.
Now the East Rainton youngster is appealing to Wearsiders to help pay for a specialist tricycle which will give her back her freedom.
Jasmine needs to raise £1,540 to pay for the custom-made trike, which is not provided on the NHS.
Her great aunt and carer Linda Ather said: “Jasmine used to have a specialist tricycle, but she grew out of it a year and a half ago. She’s been desolate ever since.
“There are so many things that she can’t do, because of her condition, but the tricycle allowed her to actually do something herself.
Jasmine used to have a specialist tricycle, but she grew out of it a year and a half ago. She’s been desolate ever since.Linda Ather, carer
“Without the equipment she’s lost the independence she once had. It’s heartbreaking to see her, but unfortunately it’s not simply a case of replacing it with a new one, as a specialist trike costs an eye-watering £1,540.”
East Rainton Primary School pupil Jasmine, who developed four-limb cerebral palsy after being born prematurely at 27 weeks, uses a wheelchair to get about, but the trike is more suitable for when she wants to play out with friends.
“It gives her freedom and a chance to play with friends,” added Linda. “It’s also the only time she has aerobic exercise, the only thing that gets her out of breath.”
Jasmine is having fundraising assistance from national charity Caudwell Children, whose Family Support programme in the North East was set up with Big Lottery funding.
Linda said: “The trikes are specially designed to assist disabled children in their physical development and rehabilitation. They are engineered to make pedalling that much easier.
“So whilst Jasmine is having fun she will also be improving her core strength and co-ordination, and she will develop muscle tone in her legs.
“Without this equipment I’m afraid that Jasmine could become a prisoner in her own home.”
Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, said: “A specialist tricycle not only benefits the child, it has a positive impact on the whole family.
“Unbelievably, there are an estimated 70,000 children in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment.
“Jasmine’s case highlights the kind of support that is needed for children with a condition that affects their mobility.
“I would urge members of the public to support the family through their Just Giving page so that Jasmine can get the equipment that she desperately needs and deserves.”
l You can support Jasmine through her Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/trike4jasmine