Staff at the University of Chester have been showing their support for colleague, Jo Winchcombe, helping to raise much needed funds for her poorly five-year-old daughter Rose.
Having previously been developing normally, until the age of 15 months, Rose was suddenly unable to talk, laugh, cry or move and simultaneously developed epilepsy.
Despite having undergone genetic testing, it is still not clear what caused Rose to be poorly, but her neurologist believes Rose may have an, as yet, undiagnosed genetic condition.
Rose’s symptoms began to improve dramatically after Jo found out about the specialist Family Hope Center based in Pennsylvania, which works with families to create individual developmental programmes for children with special needs.
Jo said: “The changes in Rose since we started this have been amazing. You don’t just have to go away and manage symptoms. The Family Hope Center trains you, and then it’s us who deliver the programme. Commando crawling is one of the things we do with Rose. Lots of commando crawling stimulates the cranial nerve so, among other things, it helps with her speech, and for her to be able to filter sounds.
“As part of the therapy, she also has to crawl on her hands and knees - which deals with decision making, logic and common sense. A lot of this is about reflexes – baby reflexes become adult ones, so this is all to do with repetition and patterning.
“Not only is she now beginning to walk, but she is learning to read - she is doing well. She still has regular physiotherapy and speech therapy, but the NHS, as supportive as it has been to our family, has no other form of treatment available. The Family Hope Center’s treatment has outstanding, proven results and with some hard work we believe that Rose will, one day, in the years to come, catch up with her peers and lead a normal, fulfilling life.”
Jo works at the University of Chester as a library and information services resources assistant, where she says colleagues across the institution have showed tremendous support to help her in her fundraising efforts for her daughter.
It was actually a former colleague, Lizzy Roberts, who set up the fund for Rose in the first place. She was leaving to go to a new job and, instead of a collection, she decided that she would like to set up the fund.
The most recent to offer to go the extra mile is Ben Hultum, who also works in library and information services at the university. Ben is taking part in the Brompton Bike World Championship in London on Saturday, July 30, and is racing the eight mile circuit for Rose.
Ben said: “The Brompton World Championship Final is a truly unique sporting event which I feel honoured in finally being selected to race on this occasion. It seems befitting to use this opportunity to help raise awareness for a truly unique individual in Rose and pay tribute to her inspirational family who have continued to radiate huge amounts of positivity during Rose’s troubling situation.”
Jo is keen to point out that many people across the university – including those she doesn’t know – have been willing to support her.
Jo said: “So many colleagues have done so much, but the biggest thing they’ve done en masse was last August when they helped me with a fundraiser (a summer fair) in Wallasey. I asked staff for clothes, toys, CDs, for donations. It got to the point where people had donated so much stuff that Penny Watson, my boss, offered to house it in her spare room!
“Friends made cakes - one colleague made a beautiful cake and covered it, aptly, with roses for guess the weight of the cake, a former colleague made jewellery, and another former colleague worked front of house, friends were even making signs. We raised £2,100 that day alone – so much more than we were expecting – and I couldn’t have done that without the support of my work colleagues – they have been amazing.”
To sponsor Ben Hultum please visit: https:// www.gofundme.com/dfhzug or use the hashtag #RaceForRose.
More information about the Family Hope Center can be found at: http://www.familyhopecenter.com/