Cyclist takes on the Great Divide for Wrexham youngster

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

A MASSIVE fundraising effort has been launched to buy specialist equipment for a toddler who will never be able to walk or talk.

Elin Haf Drake, who was two last month, suffered a catastrophic lack of oxygen during her birth which left her brain damaged with severe cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy.

Elin was left unable to walk or talk, is visually impaired and has between two and three fits a week.

When the youngster has a fit her parents, Ruth and Paul of Rhos-y-Madoc, Ruabon, must respond quickly by administering rescue medicine to save her.

But despite this the parents, who are both teachers, say they feel blessed to have a “wonderful and loving child”.

It was a miracle in itself that Elin Haf Drake was born because her mum had previously suffered complications and thought she would never be able to have children.

Family friend David Trollope will be cycling across the Great Divide – the 3,000 mile route from Canada to Mexico – to raise money for Elin. The IT worker from London will be cycling 54 miles a day through the Rocky mountains and uncertain terrain for six weeks.

He will be kitted out with a sleeping bag, a small trailer to carry his supplies and emergency flares in case he comes across any bears.

Speaking about the challenge Ruth, who teaches part time at Ysgol Deiniol, Marchwiel, said: “It’s incredibly humbling for us as parents that he would choose to dedicate such a great challenge to Elin.

“The sensory equipment is incredibly important because we are so limited when she doesn’t move independently. You can’t just put her in front of the television, she needs specialist equipment to stimulate her.

“Having Elin has completely changed our lives, she makes you realise what’s important in life.

“Despite all her problems she’s a very happy, placid, loving little girl.”

The loving parents didn’t get to see their daughter’s first smile until she was nine months old.

“It was an amazing experience, we didn’t think it was ever going to happen,” said Ruth.

“It was actually a squeaky chicken that made her smile and we caught the moment on camera.”

Dad Paul, an English teacher at the Maelor School in Penley, said: “She’s so dependent on you it makes it a very special relationship. I can sit for most of the day cuddling her.”

Elin was on life support for 11 days before she began breathing for herself on the special care baby unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Ruth said: “Of course we have to accept her for her good – she’s definitely got a little personality and we love her to bits.”

Anyone who can support the Great Divide challenge should go to www.davidridesthegreatdivide. com.

See full story in the Leader

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