A YOUNG girl’s family are raising funds towards the installation of a ‘much-needed’ lift at her home - in order to give her the independence she’s always dreamed of.
Eight-year-old Betsy Johnson, of Park Road, was starved of oxygen for 16 minutes when she was born after her mum, Beth Pollock, endured a number of complications during an ‘extremely traumatic’ labour.
Betsy was rushed straight to the intensive care unit at Jessops in Sheffield, where her dad, Chris Johnson, spent the next fortnight by her bedside, while her mum recovered at Barnsley Hospital.
Now living with cerebral palsy and being unable to walk, Betsy’s family decided to set up a fundraiser to raise money to have a lift installed at their home.
Family friend Emma Day, alongside four others, set up a Just Giving page on Friday, which hopes to raise £20,000 for Betsy and her family.
“When Betsy came out of intensive care, the impact of being starved of oxygen for so long was not known at the time,” Emma told the Chronicle.
“She was such a happy and content baby but as certain expected milestones arrived, she didn’t meet them and the extent of the trauma at her birth was soon realised.
“Her parents remained determined, asked questions and sought answers, they attended every appointment they could to help Betsy.
“They hired a private physio to work with her on improving her physical core strength and Betsy too never gave up - she spent hours doing exercises in her walker, despite how hard it was for her.”
After Betsy’s parents were told by specialists that if she hadn’t started walking by the time she was four it’d be unlikely she’d walk at all, they realised this would be the case and thought about how best to move forward.
Emma added: “Chris and Beth considered moving to a bungalow but when weighing up the benefits of having family and friends nearby to help with childcare, Betsy’s school being so close and their overall love for the area, they decided that adapting their own home would be better for them all.
“They’ve adapted their home and their furniture and bought specialist equipment to support Betsy in every way that they have been able.
“Betsy loves life, she’s a big sister to her brother Bohdi who absolutely adores her and is always on hand to support her.
“She’s the most amazing little girl - her smile lights up every room, and her parents’ sheer determination has always rubbed off on her with every challenge being something she’ll try to achieve.
“She has lots of friends at school who accept her differences entirely as qualities.”
Chris and Beth received a grant from Barnsley Council three years ago, but the planning permission they secured is due to expire later this year, spurring Betsy’s family into this fundraising mission.
“They’ve been saving up for years and still have a long way to go, but because the funds for the work haven’t quite been raised and work hasn’t been able to start, that permission is due to expire.
“The independence that the lift will bring will be life changing, having a lift installed will mean that her parents won’t have to carry Betsy upstairs anymore - something which is becoming more difficult as Betsy gets older.”