sweet-lucy1Seven year-old Lucy Cook, who lives in San Juan, faces life with a series of disabilities. At the age of two, her parents realised that she had a problem with walking.

Later on, Lucy severed a finger without showing any sign of pain or distress. Various medical tests confirmed that she suffered from a disorder known as Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy which means that the gene which affects her nerves and coordination is missing. The sense which should tell her where parts of our body are without having to look simply isn’t there and she suffers a loss of sensation in parts of her body. Lucy cannot walk without thinking, for her it is a conscious effort as she has to use her eyes. Her legs eventually become tired and give way beneath her.

Lucy also has problems with her eyes which are extremely sensitive to bright light, eczema and asthma which are all controlled by medication. Recently, splints have been made for her to support her ankles, especially when she falls, as her walking is getting worse. Her mother Rachel told Island Connections, “she needs a new pair of splints every year as she grows, and her walker which we brought here from the UK is now three years old. These are all ongoing costs”. Lucy has a manual wheelchair to help her move about, but someone has to push her all the time. To give her some independence, she really needs an electric wheelchair. Rachel says, “the future for Lucy is unknown, she is slowly getting worse and will eventually need to use a wheelchair all the time”.

At the moment Lucy attends a normal school and has a full-time carer. She has lots of friends and is bright and happy. Rachel told us that Lucy is a clever girl and is one of the top children in her class, although like everyone, she has her bad days.

The family moved to Tenerife nearly two years ago because the climate here is a great help with Lucy’s condition. She is under medical supervision, is about to begin physiotherapy and tests are always being undertaken, but her condition will never improve. Her parents have to watch and monitor her, and are trying to make plans for that uncertain future which lies ahead. Even though the Spanish government pays a proportion of her medical bills, there are many other costs involved.

For this reason, the Lions Club International of Santiago del Teide has set up the Sweet Lucy Appeal which is intended to enable Lucy to have some form of independence and to lead, as far as possible, a normal child’s life. Any donations, no matter how big or small, will help her to have an electric wheelchair, new leg splints, a walker, and the medication and treatment that she needs.

If you can help, donations can be paid into the Lions Club International account at Banca March, account number 0061 0215 140119520111.