£21,000 raised for wheelchair for girl, 4

Anna and Ann Marie. Picture: Toby Williams
Anna and Ann Marie. Picture: Toby Williams
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A MOTHER has told of her joy after securing the funds for a state-of-the-art wheelchair set to “transform” life for her seriously ill daughter.

Ann Marie Penman said she was “absolutely thrilled” at reaching the milestone sum of £21,000 needed to purchase a Snapdragon wheelchair for four-year-old Anna, who suffers from leukaemia as well as a debilitating condition called spinal muscular atrophy.

Doctors believe the brave tot may be the only person in the UK to receive treatment for both illnesses at once.

The chair – which has a revolutionary, height-adjustable seat – will give Anna greater freedom to do what she wants without the help of carers.

Ann Marie, 45, from Linlithgow, said: “It’s amazing. The wheelchair is doing exactly what I hoped it would – letting Anna be herself and do the things she wants to do.”

Anna said: “I love my new chair. I like going up to the sky with it.”

Ann Marie said she had been stunned by the generosity of friends, family and “complete strangers” in the drive to raise £21,477 for the wheelchair.

She revealed manufacturers Dragonmobility had already delivered a loan chair, with a bespoke Snapdragon also in production that would be handed over to the family soon.

“We’ve been in Cambridge this weekend collecting Anna’s loan chair – this is for her to use until her own one is built,” said Ann Marie.

“A combination of steroids, the long journey, remains of a fractured femur and lots of new people meant Anna wasn’t really at her best for a large part of the day.

“However, she finally started to enjoy herself in her new chair, especially once she 
realised she could give her cousins a ride on the back.”

She said the wheelchair had already begun to transform life for her daughter, who last year battled to survive successive rounds of intense chemotherapy and infections.

Staff at Bonnytoun Nursery in Linlithgow have already noticed the difference, with Anna able to take part in a far wider range of activities.

Ann Marie said: “When I picked her up today, the staff told me it was like having a different girl. She’s been able to do things at nursery that weren’t as accessible before.

“Not that the nursery haven’t worked to make sure she can do everything she wants to do but it was the case that, for some things, the school tables weren’t quite the right height and some activities were that bit more difficult.

“But today she was able to go into nursery by herself. She was able to move around with her friends and do lots of different activities at once.”

Ann Marie also hailed the “overwhelming generosity” of all those who had donated to the wheelchair fund.

Anyone who wishes to can give to Anna’s fund at www.annapenman.wordpress.com.