Seven-year-old Maija, from Hackney, is able to experience the freedom to run independently since receiving her ‘Race-Runner’.
Maija – who her parents describe as “an eternally happy little camper” – has cerebral palsy, triple X syndrome and global developmental delay, which affects her mobility.
Her mum, Elke, explains:
“Maija requires constant assistance to move and is unable to independently operate her wheelchair or walker. However, due to its engineering, the ‘Race-Runner’ allows her this ability and freedom.”
The family attend a fantastic accessible running club in East London and try to go to the group most weekends. It was there that they tried out a ‘Race-Runner’ and Maija fell in love with it!
Seeing how much she enjoyed using the Race-Runner, Maija’s family were keen to get one to help her get daily exercise, but because of the cost – more than £1,800 – they reached out to children’s disability charity Children Today Charitable Trust for support.
Children Today pledged to cover more than a third of the cost of the equipment and launched an appeal on behalf of the family to try to raise the remaining funds needed.
Donations came flooding in from friends and family, the local community and other charities, and within just two weeks the rest of the funds for the Race-Runner were secured.
“When the Race-Runner arrived, Maija wanted to go out on it at the first opportunity. We went to Victoria Park and had a lovely day out together as a family. She was thrilled to have a sense of independence and ability to have adventures of her own.
“It’s also a fun way of strengthening her legs, which in turn will help to improve her walking endurance and balance, as well as maintain the integrity of hip joints. Steering the ‘Race-Runner’ will also help to strengthen Maija’s arm and tummy muscles.”
Maija was born extremely prematurely at 23 weeks and five days, weighing just 470 grams, but despite her difficult start in life she has surprised her family and doctors alike.
“Maija is incredible – she’s amazed us all! She’s come such a long way – from being ventilated, on oxygen and tube-fed to now being an energetic little girl who loves to learn and play. She’s got such a zest for life, so seeing the delight on her face using the Race-Runner was such a joy.
“We’re all looking forward to even more adventures in the warmer weather as spring approaches and Maija can’t wait to show off her fabulous new, blue – her favourite colour – Race-Runner at the running club we go to. Thank you so much to Children Today and everyone who donated!”