Fundraising drive for meningitis twins

A FUNDRAISING campaign is under way to help buy a specialist exercise bike for twin brothers Thomas and Matthew Gough, who were struck down with meningitis when they were just one day old.

The 11-year-olds suffer from cerebral palsy and it is hoped the 4,500 exercise machine will help to stretch and build their muscles.

Already parents Tracy and David manage to raise 3,700 a year to fund additional physiotherapy for the boys.

Now they have set themselves the target to collect enough for the Medimotion exercise system which an occupational therapist believes could help with their development.

Thomas and Matthew, from Wrenthorpe, Wakefield, suffered brain damage after being struck down with meningitis a day after they were born.

They were left with cerebral palsy, which affects muscles and tendons, while Thomas is also partially sighted, deaf and suffers from epilepsy.

In 2009, a series of fundraising events were held, including family and friends doing a sponsored walk of Yorkshire's Three Peaks.

The fundraising in 2009 raised 4,000 for the private physiotherapy sessions which have helped the boys' conditions to improve.

Mrs Gough, a civilian police worker in Wakefield, said they been told that the specialist bike might help them further.

She said they had been advised that Thomas would benefit from using the specialist bike.

"There are issues with his posture and his spine," she said.

"He has got a new wheelchair as we were worried his spine was going to start twisting," she said.

"We've been advised that it would be beneficial for Thomas if he got the bike.

"It's like motivation for his muscles to start working."

In the longer term, she said they hoped that Thomas might eventually be able to bear weight on his legs, although at the moment he is unable to do so.

Mrs Gough added that they hoped the bike could also help relax Matthew's muscles which can be quite stiff.

"You have got to give everything a chance," she said.

So far the family have collected nearly 2,000 towards the cost of the equipment through raffles and cake mornings.

Further plans for other events, including, hopefully, one involving Wakefield-based police officer Mr Gough and colleagues, are in the pipeline.

The family have set up a special bank account with Barclays for money raised for the boys. To contribute, donations can be paid into the account called Thomas and Matthew Gough Trust Fund, account number 13220370, sort code 20-89-68.

The family and the twins also have a page on Facebook, called the Thomas and Matthew Trust Fund, which has 160 supporters involved in the fundraising campaign.