Little Red Wheelchair

Thank you for visiting Oona's page. Oona is a bright, loving and fearless seven year old girl with a complex neurological condition. She was born with incredible drive to achieve and live life to the fullest.

We are looking for support to provide Oona with:

1. Adaptations to our home and specialist equipment to give Oona greater independence. 

2. Ongoing access to regular and week-long intensive physical therapy. Oona took her first independent steps at the age of 6 after a lot of operations on her joints and incredible focus and hard work. She continues to make great progress. 

3. Hydrotherapy and swimming training. Swimming has been particularly helpful for Oona's physical and mental health. Racing in the pool has become Oona's big dream, and she swims several times a week. Today she sees herself as a swimmer. If you meet Oona, it's likely the first thing she will tell you about herself. 

Oona's Story So Far...

Oona's condition went unnoticed till the day she was born, when she arrived with joint deformities in both her feet, dislocated hips, and with no movement in her legs or her jaw. Unable to open her mouth or swallow, she was fed by tube and ventilated, and spent ten difficult weeks in NICU. At that time were told to expect her to be unable to walk, talk, eat or 'form thoughts'.

Seven years have passed, and Oona is always surrounded by loving family and friends. She has attended many hundreds of hours of medical appointments. She has also bravely endured more bone surgeries and medical procedures than she has fingers and toes. Oona is now a very chatty, intelligent and kind-hearted little girl. She has lots of big ambitions, and she loves music and acting, but most of all, swimming. 

Oona's condition still greatly affects her daily life. She is an active, independent wheelchair user, and although she no longer needs a feeding tube, she is still learning how to manage foods that need chewed. This means she has a restricted diet. Her condition also causes muscle weakness in her hands and her legs. Her eye movements and speech are also affected, because they rely on muscles too. 

Despite her difficulties, Oona's body is very responsive to therapy. In 2019, when Oona was five years old, parts of her feet and ham strings became active for the very first time. These were areas of her body that were believed to be permanently paralysed. We watched her toes wiggling, something we thought we would never see. Oona made a video showing the world her wiggling toes and explaining what she could do. She went on to take her first unaided steps at six years old. Now she really wants to keep getting stronger, improving her balance and coordination to allow her to do more, just like her friends.

Oona has had ten surgeries on her jaw, hips, legs and feet, and she has spent over a year with both legs in plaster from her toes to her armpits. She has never let these bumps in the road get her down. She rebuilds her strength after each operation and throws herself wholeheartedly into any therapies she is given the opportunity to try. 

In 2020, Oona was very lucky to have the opportunity to learn to swim on an intensive training course for disabled children. She fast became very skilled and very passionate about this, and despite none of the family being very sporty, we knew straight away that Oona was forging her own path. Oona's priorities and her view of herself has totally changed since she discovered the water. We swim with Oona several times a week now, and she also trains with The Lothian Racers swimming team. It's been a huge boost for her self esteem and her physical strength. 

You will find our most up to date videos and updates on Oona's Facebook page @little red wheelchair



7.5% of all donations to Tree of Hope in relation to this appeal will be allocated to the general charitable purposes of Tree of Hope to cover our core operating costs.

If we raise insufficient funds, or surplus funds, then the funds will be used, if appropriate, to fund support for our child’s needs in accordance with Tree of Hope’s charitable objects.  If in those circumstances we are unable to use all or part of the funds for the benefit of our child in accordance with Tree of Hope’s charitable objectives, then any funds that cannot be used will be transferred to be used for the general charitable purposes of Tree of Hope.

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