Desperate parents are pleading for help to send their disabled daughter on a dream holiday to Disney World in Florida after a charity funding shortfall put the trip in doubt.Paige Lilly Higham, 11, has West syndrome, as well as other complex medical conditions, which together have left her a permanent wheelchair user, as well as having poor vision and needing regular oxygen monitoring and 24-hour care.Parents Daniel and Stacey, of Runcorn , applied for a place for Paige on Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday to Disney World in Florida.Caudwell Children is a national charity that supports disabled children and their families.In 2007, it created Destination Dreams to give 25 children with life-threatening conditions the chance to experience a dream holiday in Disney World.
Stacey said everyone was delighted when Paige and the family were offered a place but, due to a funding shortfall, the race is now on to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of the holiday.She said: “We were amazed when we found out that we were one of only 25 families that had been selected for the trip, we simply couldn’t believe it.”The families are really well looked after, as the charity provide a dedicated team of paediatric doctors and nurses who are available 24/7.“They also take along over 40 volunteers to assist families around the theme parks.“Because of the associated costs of taking very poorly children overseas, the charity has to pay on average £12,000 per family.
“However, with the trip scheduled for February 2018, the charity recently informed us they’ve had to push it back to December 2018 as they hadn’t been able to raise the required £250,000.“So the families on the trip have all decided to appeal to our local communities to help get us on that plane to Florida.”The family stressed the holiday’s importance.Daniel said: “Winter is very hard time for us, with Paige having recurrent respiratory problems. She can be very vulnerable during this period.“She can spend a lot of time unwell due to her chronic lung disease and low immune system.“A normal cough and cold can lead to pneumonia, or a chest infection, and even more admissions to hospital for more support.“Her life can sometimes be at risk, so having the holiday put back a year is going to (mean) a very nervous wait for us.
“We just hope she is strong enough each winter to make it to the next, and we hope she’ll be able to get to Florida for the once-in-a-lifetime trip.”Stacey said it is crucial to make what memories they can together now, as one day they could be their most precious and lasting connection to their life with Paige.She said: “Paige adores Disney and girly things.“It will be a dream come true to see Paige’s face light up when she meets all her idols, the princesses at Magic Kingdom.“We can’t wait to experience Disney World as it’s something that we never thought we would ever be able to do together.“To watch Paige enjoying it with her one-year-old sister, Poppy, will be magical.“I just hope the public support our fundraising campaign.”Trudi Beswick, Caudwell Children chief executive, is has urged readers to support the family’s appeal.
She said: “For many families caring for children with terminal or life-threatening conditions the thought of leaving the protected environment of their own home town, and their medical support, fills them with dread.“By providing 24-hour professional medical provision and a team of volunteers for the duration of the trip, Destination Dreams gives families the chance to create happy memories, often for the first time.Unfortunately, the level of assistance that the families need doesn’t come cheap.“That’s why it’s vital that Paige and the family get the fund-raising support that they so desperately need and deserve.”Support Paige by donating at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/holiday4paige or by texting ‘PEAL58 and the £amount’ to 70070.