Charity comes to the aid of mum's plea to get her disabled toddler moving
Rubie O’Brien, from Southwick, has spina bifida and was first given surgery when she was a day old and has since undergone operations to help straighten one of her feet and snip the tendons of both legs.
Her parents had learned of her condition at their 20-week scan and when she was delivered, Rubie was “folded-up” with her knees to her chest.
Rubie, who is now 22-months-old, still faces daily challenges, but is active and thriving.
To help her mobility and independence, mum Ciara Heffernan, who is studying to become a midwife, was preparing to launch a campaign to raise funds to buy a light wheelchair which would not put the tot’s body under strain and replace the one she uses now as she grows.
But when Ciara posted a message on Facebook appealing for help, she was taken aback when charity Community Corner said it would pay for the kit in full.
Ciara, 25, who is also mum to Lillie O’Brien, five, said: “She had a demonstration for a new wheelchair because she’s already got a baby wheelchair which she uses to get around, but she can’t use it outdoors, so she’s still in her pushchair.
“Rather than wait for wheelchair services and her physio, because sometimes they’re not made to measure, we wanted a chair that was right for her.
“We found one she really loved, but it was £3,000, so I shared a post and I heard from Community Corner.
“I cried when they got in touch, I just couldn’t believe it and I thought we were going to have a long slog to raise the money.”
Rubie, who also lives with dad Kent O’Brien, 26, a worker for a firm which supplies Nissan, can crawl, but cannot walk, and is looking forward to the delivery of her pink and glittery chair.
It will help lessen the stress on her shoulders and will not be as bulky as other models.
Cheryl McDonald, 29, runs Community Corner and its shop on Jarrow’s Scotch Estate with mum Lynne Davis, 51.
It is now approaching its £100,000 fundraising milestone.
Cheryl said: “We usually only help South Tyneside people, but when we saw the post on Facebook, me and Mam got together and asked if we could help.
“We just couldn’t not help and sometimes, you have to branch out for the benefit and really, there was no hesitation.”
The charity is always in need of more item, with its shop in Edinburgh Road open from 9am to 4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.