A Scots mum who tragically lost her fiance at the start of the coronavirus pandemic is setting out to help her four-year-old daughter walk for the first time.
Jennifer Faulds's partner Alex Williams died suddenly of heart failure last May- just before the couple had time to settle down in their dream home in London.
The 45-year-old was left devastated by the loss of Alex, 47, and moved to Bearsden, Dumbartonshire with twins Ella and Aaron to be closer to her mum.
Born prematurely at just 26 weeks, Ella was diagnosed with diplegic cerebral palsy at two years old and uses a walker to get around.
Now Jennifer is raising £3,500 for specialist therapy and is hoping the combination of that and a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery in early 2022 will have her daughter walking unaided again.
Jennifer said she felt Alex would be proud of the pair.
She said: "Alex had heart problems which were being monitored but his hospital check-up just before he died was cancelled due to Covid.
"One day he went round to his old flat which he still owned and never came back. His brother found him dead with the TV still on.’
"I realised I would need more support, especially with Ella’s surgery coming up, so once I’d checked that her needs could be catered for here, I cancelled the house purchase and have temporarily moved in with my mother while I look for something to buy.
"People have been incredibly helpful – I recently bought Ella a special trike but it was in Portsmouth and the delivery charges I was being quoted were shocking.
"But then The Home Removals Company who looked after our move from London to Scotland offered to bring it up for free – even picking it up from Portsmouth.’
"Ella is a typical four-year-old who likes Paw Patrol and PJ Masks and loves putting on shows for us with characters from these programmes.
"She also loves horse riding with Riding for the Disabled. Her brother Aaron is very sweet and gentle with her, bringing her things that she can’t easily get for herself, for example.
"But it is frustrating for her not being able to do everything he is able to do and while she will never be able to do everything he does, the operation and following physio may allow her to walk independently and enable her to do so much more."
Following the operation Ella will need private physio up to five times a week for at least two years.
The family are supported by Children’s charity Tree of Hope, which helps families fundraise for children like Ella with healthcare needs and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.
Tree of Hope CEO Gill Gibb said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting Jennifer in her fundraising and wish her and her family all the best.’
At the time of writing generous backers have smashed the target, bringing in £6,567.
A message the Tree of Hope website: "Mummy hopes that Ella will have life-changing SDR surgery in the next year which will remove the spasticity in her legs and potentially allow Ella to walk independently. Rehabilitation after SDR is intensive and expensive but Ella is determined to walk unaided and all Mummy wants to do is give Ella that chance after everything she has been through.
"We are therefore fundraising for the costs of the physio before and after the surgery and dreaming of the day when Ella might be able to take independent steps."
To donate click here.