Carmela and Her Pup, Tinker: A New Found Independence
Carmela is a six-year-old little girl who lives with her parents and a black toy poodle called Tinker in Wiltshire.
As Carmela was growing up, her parents realized that she was having trouble walking and sitting without support. After several assessments she received a diagnosis at the age of three: Carmela had LMNA- related congenital muscular dystrophy, a rare and progressive condition.
This condition means that unfortunately, she cannot walk unaided for more than 5 minutes as her muscles are weak. Carmela has a very bubbly personality but she was missing out of family walks and other social opportunities.
After the diagnosis, Carmela’s mum, Lucy, said “This is out of my hands but there must be something I can do. The doctors told me the only thing I could do was to keep Carmela as fit as possible for as long as possible. And this is exactly what mummy did”.
Lucy first heard from Whizz-Kidz from their occupational therapist. Carmela already had a powered wheelchair so they decided to apply for a trike. Trikes are important pieces of equipment not only for the playful element, but also because there are a great alternative to painful physiotherapy sessions. “To do half an hour a day of physiotherapy is boring for an adult, imagine for a six-year-old girl!”
After a few phone assessments, Whizz-Kidz was able to provide Carmela with a shiny new trike. She even got to pick the colour: bright pink! Lucy said “The trike is a vital piece of equipment for physical therapy. Carmela’s condition requires that she has to be very active and the trike is just perfect for that, we use it at least twice a week. It’s also easier for us to use it for short distances, instead of her powered wheelchair”.
The family tried to train Tinker to be an assistant dog but she didn’t obey the rules as she loves a cuddle and barking (as any toy poodle does!). However, she has proven to be a great friend for Carmela and a lovely addition to the family. “Carmela really enjoys going on rides around the neighbourhood with her dog and it has made her feel more independent”
“Having a piece for equipment for playing could change their lives forever looking forward because it provides emotional well-being, confidence and helps reduce social anxiety as it enables disabled children to take part in more activities”
We would love to give more small businesses the chance to support children like Carmela, and the chance to transform the lives of young wheelchair users to help them to gain independence, confidence and aspiration to be able to explore the world around them. Just as every child deserves to.