A FOUR-YEAR-OLD girl with a rare brain condition has been given a lifeline to stop her needing a wheelchair, thanks to The Argus.
Dozens of Argus readers volunteered offers of help when Summer Stokley needed a new trike to help her get around, go to school and keep well.
Summer, of Aukland Drive, Brighton, has now been given a special custom made trike by a charity based in Hertfordshire after they heard about her from one of our readers.
Her dad, carpenter James, 34, said: “It is fantastic news. She was a bit nervous at first but now she's zipping around again.
“She absolutely loves it and it is all thanks to The Argus readers.
“We are so grateful.”
Summer suffers from the rare neurological disorder Rett syndrome, meaning she cannot talk and cannot walk unaided.
She had used a Scuttlebug tricycle to help her get around and maintain her mobility, preventing the worsening of her condition.
But in February James and Summer’s mum Sarah Donnovan appealed to Argus readers for help when she grew out of the old trike and they could find nothing similar from toy manufacturers or the NHS.
Describing the importance of the trike, James said: “It is her lifeline. She can’t walk or talk but she takes it everywhere.
”If she didn’t have the Scuttle Bug or something similar she will end up confined to a wheelchair.
“By strengthening her back it is preventing a curvature of the spine.”
The Argus was inundated with offers of help – ranging from design students to bike shops. Even the original makers of Summer’s old scooter looked into the possibility of whether they could build a special larger size trike for Summer – and in the end the charity Demand – based in Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, built her new scooter.
Demand helps people with disabilities who need bespoke equipment to help them with their lives.
They have also vowed to provide spares and replacement parts to keep her moving as long as needed.
Demand’s chief designer Brian McGirr said: “We were delighted to help Summer.
“We followed the design of the old trike – but she obviously needed a bit more support.
We came down to Brighton to fit Summer up – which is about the extreme of how far we can go.
“Summer’s trike was designed by a student on work placement with us, Emily Tulloh, who is studying at Brunel University.
“What we do is help build mobility equipment where there isn’t anything similar out there.”