An appeal has gone out from the parents of a young girl, born with a number of complex medical conditions, to support the charity that wants to treat her and the family to a dream holiday to Disney World, in Florida.
Zoe Grainger, aged eight, from Broadbridge Heath, a pupil at Castlewood School in Southwater, has had to have multiple heart surgeries and has to have cardiac catheters to stretch her pulmonary arteries.
She has also had a liver disease that has left her jaundiced.
Caudwell Children, a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, says that her condition has left her skin very itchy and despite being on medication, the itch is still very difficult for Zoe to manage.
As a result she often scratches herself until she bleeds.
Zoe is currently undergoing drug trials to reduce her skin irritation and this means that she has to make regular visit to the hospital for blood tests, which she finds traumatic.
To get some much needed respite from her condition and to make some amazing memories, her parents, Gemma and Pete, decided to apply for a place for Zoe on Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday to Disney World, in Florida.
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.
Gemma, says that she was delighted when Zoe and the family were 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 Gemma explained: “We were so happy to learn that we were one of only 25 families to have been selected for the dream trip, we 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.
“The fact that there will be a team of paediatric doctors and nurses with us on the flight, and throughout the holiday, gives us real confidence.”
The charity 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,” explained step dad, Pete. “But 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.
“Therefore, all the families on the trip have decided to appeal to their local community to ensure that we get on that plane to Florida, in December.”
Gemma says that despite her daughter’s condition she’ll love the trip.
As she explained: “Zoe is a bright little girl who loves reading, particularly David Walliams.
“But she also adores all things Disney and she will love seeing all the characters. She’s at the age where she is becoming more aware that she can’t do some of the things that her friends can do, and this sometimes get her down.
“But the holiday will be a great boost for her and the whole family, where we can have some normality back in our lives without having to worry about hospital appointments.
“I just hope that the public support our fundraising appeal!”
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 Zoe and the family get the fundraising support that they so desperately need and deserve.”
You can support Zoe through her Just Giving page here: www.justgiving.com/holiday4zoe.
You can also donate by texting: PEAL91 then the £amount to 70070.