Jessie Wade-Rathbone, who has cerebral palsy, has been helped by a Yorkshire charity for the second time. Catherine Scott reports.
Eleven-year-old Jessie Wade-Rathbone is going on the trip of a lifetime to Disney World in Florida thanks to a small Yorkshire charity.
Jessie from Sowerby Bridge has cerebral palsy which affects both her legs, her right arm and her speech.
She needs a wheelchair to get around and long-distance holidays have been little but a dream for Jessie and her family.
Now however the Yorkshire Children’s Trust has just chosen Jessie to go on a trip of a lifetime to Disney World Florida funded by Deep Blue Fish Restaurants.
Simon Widdop, the founder of the Yorkshire Children’s Trust, said: “Jessie and her family were one of the first we helped after setting up the charity and we could think of none more deserving than her to receive this incredible donation.”
The Trust, which was founded in 2011, gave Jessie an iPad which has helped her to read and write.
Sarah, Jessie’s mum explains: “Jessie has was born eight weeks early due to complications with my pregnancy. We thought it was being premature which was the reason for her delayed development but then at 12 months old an MRI scan revealed she had cerebral palsy,” says Sarah.
“Both her legs are affected, her right hand side and her right arm and hand.”
Despite her physical disabilities Jessie is a bright little girl, but when she was about four she was struggling to read and write.
The Yorkshire Children’s Trust donated her an iPad and Sarah says she has never looked back.
“I think the iPad is one of the things that has been of the most benefit to Jessie over the years. She now has a reading age of 14 even though she is only 11. She has just started high school and is doing really well although she does get frustrated that she isn’t physically able to do the things her friends are starting to do, like go to the cinema or go shopping by themselves,” says Sarah.
“Independence is an issue for Jessie because she needs support as her arm and hand aren’t strong enough for her to push the wheelchair herself. She also has no peripheral vision which means she wouldn’t see danger.”
Despite these frustrations, Jessie is like all girls her age and interested in make-up and music. But she is always thinking of others.
“For the last year she has been growing her hair and has just had it cut off so that she can donate it to the Little Princess Trust. Even though her hair was getting on her nerves and I was worried it might get caught in her wheelchair she persevered.”
The Little Princess Trust makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their own.
She also does some modelling through Zebedee Management, an inclusive talent agency that promotes models, actors and performers with disabilities.
“Although she is only 11 she feels passionately that there should be more people with disabilities on television and in the media,” says her proud mum.
Last year she appeared in CBBC’s adaption of Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s best-selling book Katy.
The drama revolves around a young girl called Katy who has to adjust to life as a wheelchair user following an accident that leaves her with a spinal cord injury. Jessie played another disabled person that Katy meets on her journey.
Now she is set to face another adventure when she travels to Disney World.
James Low, the founder of Deep Blue Fish Restaurants, is committed to building strong community links in Yorkshire and sees this as the first initiative of many in an attempt to help local groups and charities.
“We are delighted to be able to send Jessie and her family to Disney World and truly hope they enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. Fish and chips is a classic national dish and as such, chip shops are an important part of the high street, so we want to make sure that Deep Blue plays a positive and active part in the Yorkshire community.”
Customers are also being given the opportunity to win a family trip to Disney World by visiting their local Deep Blue, Harpers or Scotts Fish and Chip shop and completing the entry form before the competition closes on April 30.
“I am really looking forward to going to Disney World,” says Jessie,. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am looking forward to meeting all the characters. I want to say a massive thank you to the Yorkshire Children’s Trust, who has supported me afor a second time, and to Deep Blue Fish and Chips.”