A MUM is desperately appealing for the public’s help to build a garden path which will enable her daughter with a rare condition to exercise.

Joanna Fitz-Hugh is asking for money which will go towards building a path in her garden to allow her five-year-old daughter, Lilian River - also called LiRi, to use her walking frame or trike on solid ground so she can exercise.

Currently, the outside space is stony and uneven so LiRi cannot get outside as she isn’t strong enough to pedal across.

LiRi has a significant learning difficulty called chromosome microdeletion, along with visual impairment, epilepsy, she is non-verbal and has a hole in her heart. Her low muscle tone means that getting over an illness is a challenge at the best of times, so she has been in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to LiRi not having her usual routine and being able to exercise, she has been severely stressed which has caused her to self-harm.

Miss Fitz-Hugh, from Lower Broadheath, said: “She has gone from being a really happy and content child to someone who is severely stressed out.


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“She is now biting her wrist and banging her head on hard surfaces. It’s a constant battle.”

Miss Fitz-Hugh said her little girl, who attends Fort Royal Community Primary School, needs to move to function her digestive tract properly.

She added: “She needs access to smooth walking surfaces to develop her balancing skills, to build her muscle strength. To ride her trike and explore her own garden, or to run with her walking frame. Any of those things that she loves she is massively limited to do at present and it breaks my heart to see how its impacts upon her mental health. I just can’t tell you enough how much of an impact on her life a simple path would be. Even with her walking frame, walking sticks and trike, if you haven’t got a surface to use them they are useless."

In a bid to raise money for the path, which will cost around £3,200, a group of 13 have created a Lockdown Running Group and are attempting to ‘individually but together’ run from Land’s End to John O’Groats in seven weeks.

One of the organisers, Chris Husband, said: “LiRi is struggling to adapt to life within the compounds of her house and front drive, without the chance to use her walking frame on a hard surface. We want to help her mum raise the money to make a permanent path around her garden to enable LiRi to push on and not be put back by lockdown.” To donate, visit here.