MOST people take it for granted they can reach out to press a button when in a lift or pick something up off the floor.
But little Gracie Mellalieu, who suffers from Morquio syndrome – a rare form of dwarfism which affects only 3,000 people in the world, stunts growth and limits
ability to walk – has not been able to carry out these simple tasks.
Now her parents Yvette and Jonathan have plans to buy her a state-of-the-art power wheelchair.
Yvette hopes the new piece of kit will give the six-year-old more freedom and make it easier to keep up with her friends.
She said: “At the moment, in her regular chair, people often ask her if she wants to press the button in a lift or at a road crossing and she hasn’t been able to do it.
“But we hope this chair will have a big effect on her quality of life.
“We’ve even spotted a bright pink one, which Gracie would love, so it can be fun and functional.”
Her family is hoping to raise up to £17,000 but they won’t be able to do this without the help of the community.
The couple, of Brickbarn Close, Buckley, are holding a gala dinner on May 4, their latest bid to raise awareness of Gracie’s condition.
They have previously won support from famous people such as Coronation Street and Hollyoaks star Ian Puleston-Davies, who supported them at last summer’s Mold Carnival, and they now hope the Flintshire community will lend its support.
The All That Glitters event, inspired by Gracie’s love of anything twinkly, will be held
at St David’s Park Hotel in Ewloe.
Yvette is appealing to local businesses to support the event by donating auction items and buying tables for the night with all proceeds going towards Gracie’s new chair.
Despite her disabilities Gracie – who also suffers from hearing loss, requires four hour sessions on a drip at Manchester Children’s Hospital every week and has undergone spinal surgery – is “the happiest little girl you’ve ever met”, according to Yvette.
A pupil at Southdown Primary School, Buckley, she is popular among her classmates and manages to enjoy mainstream school with the help of a full time assistant.
Yvette added: “She loves school, especially reading and writing.
“We just want her to have the same experiences as any other child and we hope a new chair will help with that.”
It is hoped the Mellalieu family will have enough money to buy Gracie’s new chair in time for Bonfire Night this year after she struggled to see the fireworks in 2012.
To contribute to Gracie's chair fund or offer auction items or help for the gala dinner email firstname.lastname@example.org.