Young Hope Stoker couldn’t walk a year ago but will conquer a festive obstacle course this weekend for the charity that helped her take her first steps.
The four-year-old suffers from Ohdo Syndrome and Ataxia, conditions which have severely hindered her physical and mental development.
She took her first steps using an ‘Upsee’, donated by Smile For Life Children’s Charity, and Hope and her family will show the charity their appreciation by taking on a Reindeer Run this Saturday (9th December).
Hope’s mum Michelle, who will help Hope around the course with her elder daughters Megan, 12, and Molly, 10, said: “She is doing so well and we are so proud of her. She is now taking independent steps which is amazing.
“We are going to keep on encouraging her to walk on her own and hope over time she will be able to do even more independently.
“We have signed up to do the Reindeer Run to say thank you to Smile For Life – they have helped us so much and we want to give something back to them.
“I think it will be a really fun day and something that Hope will really enjoy. If you’d asked me a year ago if this would be appropriate for her I’d have said no, but she has come on so much that with some help hopefully she will be able to do it.
“She is so determined and loves moving around so it should be right up her street.”
Smile For Life, based in Gosforth, aims to change the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people across the North East.
As well as providing an Upsee for Hope, Smile For Life joined with volunteers from Tesco Bank to re-vamp her garden, and took her and her family to the Peter Pan panto at the Theatre Royal.
Hadrian School pupil Hope, who was diagnosed with Ohdo syndrome when she was a baby, will be one of dozens of children taking on the Christmas-themed course at Coxlodge Community Association, Gosforth, from 2pm-5pm.
Children who take on the 1km course and obstacles will be given a goody bag and a free pair of reindeer antlers at the finish line.
Charity Chief Executive Paula Gascoigne said: “It is fantastic Hope is starting it this year as two years ago we presented her with the Upsee which allowed her to experience walking for the first time and now she is able to take part!
“It is a perfect example of how our work can change the course of a life.
“This is our third annual Reindeer Run which is a fun and festive event aimed at all children in the community, those with disabilities and without.
“It is a wonderful way for the whole family to have some fun and burn off some excess Christmas energy.”
Children’s tickets for the event cost £10, while accompanying adults run free. For tickets and more information head to https://www.eventbrite.com/o/smile-for-life-childrens-charity-3032564388 or call 0191 2844166.