The mother of a four-year-old girl from Stafford, who has Edwards syndrome, a condition that has left her with no mobility and unable to talk, is appealing to her local community to support the charity that wants to treat her and her daughter to a dream holiday to Disney World – Florida, in 2018.
Sophia Colley, was diagnosed with the condition at four days old and doctors told her mother, Annette, that she had a life expectancy of just three to four weeks.
Having undergone major heart surgery she’s defied the odds to reach her fourth birthday.
To get some much needed respite from her condition Annette, decided to apply for a place for Sophia, on Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday to Disney World in Florida.
Caudwell Children is a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
The charity created Destination Dreams in 2007 to give 25 children with life threatening conditions the opportunity to experience a ‘Dream’ holiday to Disney World.
Annette says that she was delighted when Sophia was offered a place on the trip. However, the race is now on to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of the holiday.
As Annette explained: “I was amazed when I found out that we were one of only 25 families from across the UK, and the only one from Staffordshire, that had been selected for the trip. I simply couldn’t believe it.
“The families are really well looked after as the charity provide a dedicated team of paediatric doctors and nurses who are available 24/7. They also take along over 40 volunteers to assist families around the theme parks.
“Because of the associated costs of taking very poorly children overseas the charity has to pay, on average, £12,000 per family.
“However, with the current economic climate there’s always the risk that they won’t be able to raise enough money by the time the holiday comes around in December 2018.
“So the families on the trip have all decided to appeal to our local communities to ensure that we get on that plane to Florida.”
The holiday is extremely important as the family has already experienced double tragedy with the loss of Annette’s husband and young son, Daniel.
“Despite regular hospital appointments and having to be fed through the nose, Sophia is a happy little girl,” said Annette, “I was due to go to Lapland with Daniel but he passed away before we could go on the trip.
“That’s why I’ve promised to make magical memories for Sophia whilst I can and the trip to Disney World wold allow me to do just that.”
Annette, can’t wait to experience Disney World with her daughter as it’s something that she never thought they would ever be able to do together.
“To watch Sophia enjoying the sights and sounds of Disney will be magical! I just hope the public support our fundraising campaign so that we can raise the money that we need,” concluded Annette.
Trudi Beswick, Chief Executive from Caudwell Children, is urging the community to get behind the family’s appeal. She said: “For many families caring for children with terminal or life-threatening conditions, the thought of leaving the protected environment of their own home town and their medical support fills them with dread.
“By providing 24 hour professional medical provision and a team of volunteers for the duration of the trip, Destination Dreams gives families the chance to create happy memories; often for the first time!
“Unfortunately, the level of assistance that the families need doesn’t come cheap. That’s why it’s vital that Sophia and the family get the fundraising support that they so desperately need and deserve.”
You can support Sophia through her Just Giving page here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/holiday4sophia
You can also donate by texting PEAL73 – then the £amount – to 70070
Publishers of Staffordshire Living Magazine