Rubie's rolling thanks to new wheelchair gift

A Wearside youngster has gone pink with pride over her new wheels after a charity answered a call for help from her mum.

Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 3:21 pm
Spina bifida sufferer two year old Rubie O'Brien receive new special wheelchair with help from Community Corner.

Rubie O’Brien, from Southwick, has spina bifida which means she struggles to use her legs, but is thriving thanks to her new wheelchair - delivered just days before her second birthday.

The glittery pink frame, decorated with her name and flashing wheels, was delivered by Community Corner after the good cause covered the whole cost of the kit.

Spina bifida sufferer two year old Rubie O'Brien receive new special wheelchair with help from Community Corner. Front mother Ciara Heffernan, father Kent O'Brien and sister Lillie O'Brien aged 5

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Mum Ciara Heffernan posted an appeal for help via Facebook and was taken aback when the Jarrow charity said it would pay for the £2,886 wheelchair outright.

Unlike her old model, she will be able to use it inside and out, as the former equipment could not be used outside and it will also reduce the strain on her shoulders.

Ciara, 25, who alongside partner Kent O’Brien, 26, is also parent to Lillie, five, said: “She just took off straight away.

“She absolutely loves it and headed straight for the puddles.

Rubie O'Brien shortly after she was born.

“It’s lighter and isn’t on the ground like her other ones, it puts her at sofa level, so now she’s at the same height as her friends.

“It’s so important for her to have her independence.

“Now she will be able to play outside in the garden, where all the toys are.

“I can’t thank Community Corner enough, there’s nothing I can say or put into words to show how grateful we are.

Rubie O'Brien in the wheelchair she uses now.

“This has changed all our lives, it’s amazing.”

Rubie is looking forward to showing her friends at Siblings Nursery in Wessington Way, Sunderland, her new chair, which has been custom built for her by Mobility For You can could last her up to five years,

In September, it is expected she will undergo a second operation on her hips, as one side does not stay in its joint, and she also has problems with one of her knees.

She is also due to get a walking frame through her physiotherapist.

Spina bifida sufferer two year old Rubie O'Brien receive new special wheelchair with help from Community Corner. Front mother Ciara Heffernan, father Kent O'Brien and sister Lillie O'Brien aged 5

Cheryl McDonald, 29, runs Community Corner and its shop on Jarrow’s Scotch Estate with mum Lynne Davis, 51.

She said: “It was fantastic to see her in it.

“It just makes us proud and shows all our hard work and the stress is all worth it.

“We also wanted our customers to know here their donations have gone.”

Rubie O'Brien shortly after she was born.
Rubie O'Brien in the wheelchair she uses now.