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Fantastic News!

Rebecca carried the Olympic Torch in Southend on Friday 6th July. We are all very proud of her. View the gallery to see photos.

On 17th January, 2006 Rebecca Ling underwent surgery to correct a curvature in her spine; commonly known as scoliosis. Tragically, due to complications during the surgery, she is now paralysed from the neck down, and fully reliant on a ventilator to breathe.

After a 6 hour operation, at 14:30 her parents were called, and told that Rebecca had woken up, but was unable to move her arms. During the early evening, she gradually lost the ability to move her legs, and by 20:00 she could no longer move from the neck down. Her breathing had also become difficult, and the following day a decision was taken to put her on a ventilator to help her breathe.

Tragically, she still has no movement or feeling from the neck down, and is still totally reliant on a ventilator to breathe for her – this situation is unlikely to change now. She has a tracheostomy tube inserted into the front of her neck, connected to the ventilator, which enables her to breathe, eat solids and speak.

After spending a year in hospital, Rebecca has been able to return home to be with her family, and much loved pets! However, she now needs 24 hour professional care, a special electric wheelchair suitable to carry her ventilator, and specialist equipment to help her lead as normal a life as possible. Her parents continue to strive to give her the best life they can. She still loves to go out, but just a simple trip now involves great planning and expense. Two carers have to accompany her wherever she goes, along with 4 emergency bags and specialist transport.

Prior to this surgery, Rebecca managed to lead a full and varied life. She loves school and used to enjoy horseriding, dancing and being with her friends. She has always enjoyed singing; in fact just a few weeks before her surgery she took part in a show, and on stage, sung a solo to an audience of 200 people.

Rebecca is determined to carry on doing all the things she loves, and that mean so much to her; but now even the small things like sending an email to her friends have become a huge challenge. She has learnt to operate a head mouse, on a computer, which means she can type, moving her head. Her parents cannot believe how determined she is to do this alone. She is even painting with her mouth, although she is very critical of her work!

As a result of this paralysis, Rebecca will require many things; specialist equipment, a modified vehicle and purpose built accommodation for the rest of her life – all of which will require substantial funding. In preparation for her current and future needs, a trust/appeal fund has been set up in her name. Your help can contribute towards making this young girl’s future, successful, happy and secure.

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