SANTA Claus needs a little extra help to get a local girl her dream Christmas present.
All ten-year-old Aimee Brennan wants this Christmas is a hand cycle so she can play with other kids. The Wolfhill girl has scoliosis after she was left paralysed from the chest down following complications after a surgery in 2012 and is now confined to an electric wheelchair.
Her disability can get her down and recently she let slip what she wanted for Christmas, as her mother Jacinta, originally from St Mary’s Park in Carlow, explained: “About two weeks ago, my brother-in-law said to her ‘what’s Santy bringing you?’ She said the hand cycle and she told him why – ‘because I can’t use my legs, I am going to be able to cycle with all the other kids and pedal with hands’.”
Jacinta and her husband Alan were shocked, as they had never heard her mention it before.
Coincidentally, a few days later, the family visited a special needs showcase of toys and equipment at the Westgrove Hotel in Clane, where one company showcased a hand cycle.
“As soon as she saw it, she asked could she try it. She went around the conference centre with it and was thrilled with herself. She was adamant; this was what Santy was bringing her.”
But there’s one big obstacle for Santa – the price. Jacinta and Alan knew that it was going to be expensive, but they hadn’t reckoned on €5,000 to €6,000 for the custom-made bike, which could be used by Aimee for years into the future.
“They are unbelievable,” she said.
To help Santa out, the family set up a gofundme page last week and already €1,500 has been raised.
“We’re very grateful and can’t thank people enough. The response so far has been amazing,” said Jacinta.
Living with her disability has become increasingly tough for Aimee as she grows older. She loves being out in Carlow with other kids while visiting her relatives, although she feels she is missing out.
“It would be great to show her that kids with disabilities can fit in with other kids,” said Jacinta.
“On the good days, she is so outgoing and talks to anyone. She loves having the chair and having her own independence. With the hand cycle, it would be great to get her hands moving more and building strength.”
People can donate at gofundme.com/hand-cycle-for-aimee or google ‘hand cycle for aimee’.