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ANNIE'S SPIDER THERAPY
2:50pm Monday 6th December 2010 in Your Bucks - Charity
Annie Barnett was born 11 days late and after a long and traumatic labour in which she suffered fetal distress and a dramatic drop in heart rate. Doctors noticed her ears were a funny shape and she had mottled skin, which tests later showed was a result of a re-ordered Chromosome 10. Despite this she continued to develop normally until she suffered a stroke at 19 weeks. The stroke caused her brain damage, leaving the movement in her left side impaired. Two weeks later Annie contracted pneumococcal meningitis and was rushed into hospital where doctors released fluid from her brain. Annie soon developed Bronchiolitis but despite all these major traumas, she made an incredible recovery and is now enjoying school and achieving all sorts of new physical milestones thanks to Spider Therapy at intensive physiotherapy centre, Footsteps (www.footstepsfoundation.com).
The programme at Footsteps includes an extraordinary piece of equipment called ‘The Spider’ which enables children who may be suffering from conditions such as Cerebral Palsy to experience freedom to move on their own and for physiotherapists to implement a full course of exercises in any chosen position.
Whilst trying to keep Footsteps as accessible to as many young people as possible, the programme isn’t a miracle cure. It comprises three hours of physiotherapy every day for three weeks, if possible at least four times a year, but the children love it!
THE ADVENTURE TO RAISE money FOR ANNIE To follow is the story of two young men who decided initially to cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End after a night down the pub, but later upgraded the adventure to a cycle ride from London to Rome to raise money for their good friend Annie Barnett! Tim Burton (aged 21) and Harvey Wood (aged 21) from High Wycombe, set off from Greenwich Park and arrived at the Coliseum in Rome twenty days and 2300 km later raising over £3300.
Harvey Wood said: “We started planning rough routes and time schedules but in the end left all the serious requirements till the last two weeks and decided to wing it on the route down depending on how we thought we were doing!
“Both Tim and I have worked for Annie's father, Steve, for some years and he was our youth group leader at church before that, so we know the family really well. We know how amazing Annie's treatment at Footsteps is and how much of a difference it is making to her life, so we wanted to do something to help raise money for her therapy.”
In terms of difficulty, the ride was always going to be challenging. Harvey said: “We aimed to do 100km a day regardless of terrain; some days we did substantially more, some days a lot less. The best day we cycled 140km, the least achieved was 40km. Our destination almost every day was a campsite, and if there were no campsites or if the campsites were closed we would have to cycle to the nearest southern town to find a hotel or hostel. The days out of hotels were always easiest, we usually would have slept properly and eaten well at a restaurant, whereas when we were camping we often faced going hungry for lack of shops or restaurants if it weren't for the generosity of other campers.
“High points included the food, we ate at some amazing local restaurants, the views along the way and the sense of achievement at the top of every hill, in particular the top of the Col du Grand St Bernard, although that was a retrospective sense of achievement. At the time after cycling uphill constantly for hours in the rain and through clouds, we weren't exactly happy! The low points were exhaustion and not being able to find food for hours (particularly on Sundays) and thinking we were going to die on the decent of the Col du Grand St Bernard!
“In addition on the first day Tim’s seat post had broken slightly resulting in his saddle being slightly off-centre and to compensate for this he pedalled with a twisted knee that progressively got worse until we were able to get his seat fixed. The trip was an amazing adventure and we are so happy we have been able to help Annie and the family.”
Based on information supplied by Hazel Scott.