When Natalia was 2, she has her foot amputated, the goal being that she did not have to undergo painful limb lengthening surgery on a regular basis, and would wear a prosthetic leg instead.
This has since presented its own trials. She is now 6 and like so many other kids, wants to swim. At present, she cant. She doesn't have a special swim leg suitable for water use. It costs £5000 to pay for one privately. the NHS don't automatically approve funding for this as it is non essential. Yet her peers at school are about to begin swimming within their school curriculum. She will be expected to swim without a leg which makes her incredibly self conscious. But even aside from that, how is she even expected to get to the pool side? Be carried? Wheel chair? Wear her other leg and then remove at the side of the pool with everyone watching? Swimming is a sport which most kids participate in, and fully enjoy. Why should Natalia not be able to do this along side her peers without the extra stress of feeling so self conscious.
This weekend, Natalia has been to stay with us and I have witnessed first hand what she has to endure daily. She cannot get out of bed at night for a wee. She cannot hop out of bed and get on with daily life like other 6 year old's do. She has to wear certain shoes because her day to day prosthetic foot does not flex. She has suffered pain regularly because during Covid, she hasn't been able to have her usual appointments and was wearing an inadequate limb. Daily life for her presents so many challenges that other 6 year old's do not even have to think about. Yet she takes it in her stride. She smiles. She is happy. But, she wants to swim.
And why not? I feel completely passionate about this little girl having the same life experiences as other children her age. My children get to go swimming, gymnastics etc, yet, Natalia's parents have to think about her having a prosthetic leg that is suitable for the correct activity. She desperately wants to swim without the self consciousness of doing it naked. As this is what it feels like to her.
I am pledging to walk 20,000 steps per day for as long as it takes to raise the funds needed for Natalia to Swim. Please please dig deep, support as much as you can & share her story.
Thank you for reading, Lindsay x
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