DEFYING the odds is something seven-year-old Dakota Read does every day.
Now her family is appealing for help to let Dakota enjoy something most of us take for granted.
Dakota, who lives with her mum Paula, brother Jacob and sister Lachan in Weston Hills, would like to be able to play in her garden – but it needs a major make-over to make it disabled-friendly.
The youngster has quadriplegic dystonic Cerebral Palsy and other medical complications, which means she can not control her arm and leg movements and needs round-the-clock care.
Dakota has a life expectancy of just 15 years but this could be prolonged by keeping her as active as possible.
Single mum Paula, who is unable to work because of problems with her own health, said: “The previous owner of our house was an avid gardener and the garden is planted up and there is turf and a big pond. It’s very bumpy and Dakota can not use her walker on anything which is not flat.
“She does not have the strength in her legs to be able to push it.”
Paula, of Broadgate, says Dakota’s only option is to lay on the floor or be stuck in the same position in the same place.
Paula is appealing for a landscaping firms to come forward to donate their services and give inspiration for how to make the most of the third-of-an-acre space for Dakota.
Paula said she wants to give Dakota, a pupil at Lincoln St Francis Special School, the opportunity to have the life of a normal seven-year-old.
When Dakota was born, both mother and daughter defied the odds to survive a birthing complication. Paula was given a one per cent chance of living after suffering an amniotic fluid embolism, while Dakota was starved of oxygen for 37 minutes and suffered a severe brain injury.
Paula explained: “When you have severe Cerebral Palsy like Dakota, she is a child trapped in a body that does not do what she wants it to do. “She is also trapped inside a house without access. To be outside to play in the garden and do the things that regular children can do would make a difference.
“I am trying to broaden her boundaries so that she has a good life.”
Five years ago, Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian readers dug deep into their pockets to raise about £3,300 for modifications to Dakota’s home.
The money went towards creating a bedroom and specialist bathroom for Dakota and converting the loft for bedrooms for Jacob (now 17) and Lachan (now 15).
nIf you would like to pitch in and help Dakota and her family, contact reporter Sharon Pell on 01775 765412 or email firstname.lastname@example.org