A FAMILY from is celebrating the newfound freedom and independence of their daughter thanks to a specially adapted trike.  

The Burkedin family is revelling in the joy a specially adapted trike is bringing to their four-year-old daughter Abi-Rose, who has full-body cerebral palsy. 

Her family say she is "always happy and smiling". 

Mum Rachel Jones recalled: "When Abi-Rose was born, she seemed perfectly healthy. We didn't realise there was anything wrong until she was about 11 months old."

The family received the diagnosis around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After numerous tests, including MRI scans and lumbar punctures, they discovered that Abi-Rose had experienced a stroke during pregnancy, likely occurring during birth, leading to her cerebral palsy, which affects her whole body.

Rachel explained: "Although Abi-Rose wasn’t meeting the usual milestones, it never occurred to us that she could have cerebral palsy. So, it was a big shock for us!”

Despite the challenges she faces, Abi-Rose expressed a desire for a bike, prompting her parents to explore possibilities.

Rachel said: "We weren't sure it would be possible, but went along to a bike scheme at Tredegar Park in Newport.

"She tried a little pink Tomcat trike, and although it wasn't quite right for her, as she needed much more support, it was clear that she loved it."

The family contacted Tomcat, who provided a demo at Abi-Rose's school and assessed her specific needs.

The family, from Caerphilly, already has specialist equipment that helps Abi-Rose get out and about, but this was the first time she would be able to get some regular exercise. 

South Wales Argus: Abi-Rose had expressed a desire for a bike, which allows her to get some regular exerciseAbi-Rose had expressed a desire for a bike, which allows her to get some regular exercise (Image: Rachel Jones)

Rachel continued: “We were absolutely thrilled that Abi-Rose had taken so well to riding a bike, as not only is it great for socialising with her friends, but it also offers an opportunity to get exercise in a fun way.

“But it’s not like going to your local toy or bike shop and picking something ‘off the shelf’. Abi-Rose has complex needs and so required something tailored to those needs, but that means it comes with a high price-tag!”

Facing financial constraints, Abi-Rose's parents reached out to several charities for support. Thanks to the generosity of Children Today and Lifeline4Kids, Abi-Rose now owns her very own trike. 

The trike, which can be dismantled for transportation and comes equipped with harnesses, straps, and back support, enables Abi-Rose to pedal independently, providing her with a sense of joy and inclusion.

Mum Rachel says Abi-Rose has continued to inspire those with her resilience and spirit, and has made great friends since starting school in September. 

She added: "Abi-Rose is aware of her limits, but she’s very determined and independent, and embraces life to the fullest.

“The trike has become an integral part of her life. She loves being able to join her friends playing in the street and in the warmer months she’s out on it all the time. We’ve added tassels on the handle-bars, a bell and even her own private number plate with her name on. It’s her pride and joy!

“We would never have been able to afford it without the support from Children Today and Lifeline4Kids, so we are just so grateful that they’ve given our little girl this glorious gift of freedom, independence and inclusion!”

 Charity Director at Children Today, Emma Prescott, said: “As a child the thrill of riding a bike along with your friends is sure a pure and wholesome joy.

"It’s fantastic to see that, thanks to her special trike, Abi-Rose can enjoy that experience and be included. You can’t put a price on inclusion!”

Spokesman for Lifeline4Kids, Michael Harris, added: “As a voluntary run organisation, we always do our best to help families without sufficient funds to purchase vital equipment.”