Local church steps in to fund disabled daughter’s athletic wheelchair

Millie. Pic: Irene Ansett

A mother from Lewisham has finally raised enough money for an athletic wheelchair for her disabled daughter.

Nine year-old Millie suffers from spina bifida and wishes to become a wheelchair athlete like her idols Lily Rise, Aaron Fotheringham and Tanni Grey-Thompson, but couldn’t complete this dream without the use of an athletic wheelchair.

Irene Ansett created a Go Fund Me page in July, with an aim to raise £5000, to encourage people to donate towards the TiLite Twist athletic wheelchair that will help Millie achieve her dreams.

Despite some struggles and an initial lack of funding from the NHS, Irene Ansett’s local church funded the remaining money in order to provide Millie with the wheelchair that she desired.

Irene Ansett told East London Lines: “We had a fundraiser at local ichthus church where Millie does popcorn club on Wednesdays. They adore Millie and wanted to fundraise… The fundraiser was on 5 October 2019 at ichthus church and was a children’s fun day and local art exhibition.”

Debbie Laycock, minister of ichthus church forest hill, also donated £1700.

Millie has a Mitrofanoff and bladder augmentation booked for 31 January.

Ansett added: “Millie will be in ICU for two days with tubes in her neck, nose and hands… The operation is to take tissue from her intestines to made her bladder inflate bigger. Her uterus is also twisted and needs repairing and reconstruction. They are moving her bladder close to her kidneys.”

Millie also needs repairs and closure to her bladder neck. Tubes will be permanently attached to her bladder through her stomach and will then be catheterised through the tube.

Ansett added: “Millie is anxious about the operation. She is very self-conscious about being in nappies and not being like other children.”

With the wheelchair on order, Ansett is worried the wheelchair won’t arrive before Millie’s operation date.

Millie will be in hospital for three to six weeks and with a recovery time at home of over six months, it will be almost a year until Millie is able to use the wheelchair that she has been waiting so long for.

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