Members of a Newton Aycliffe gym have raised thousands of pounds for a charity which helped a young girl recover from an accident which permanently damaged her face.
It took 45 members of Aspire Fitness eight hours to walk 22 miles from Cholesford to Walltown Quarry – part of Hadrians Wall – to raise around £5,000 for Changing Faces.
Changing Faces, Aspire’s chosen charity this year, supports adults and children who have facial scarring or deformities through any injury or condition that affects their appearance.
The charity is run purely by volunteers and relies on donations to help support families.
The charity is helping one of our lovely gym members Nicola and her family.
Sadly her little girl, Emily, has been left with a permanent, significant scar central to her face after an aerosol blew up hitting her with direct force.
Emily had to receive extensive plastic surgery to have her face reconstructed, part of her nose removed and then rebuilt and also her lips had to be reshaped. Unfortunately the lacerations cut though her bone structure and severely disfigured her mouth.
Aspire managing director Sharon Whitehead said: “Due to her facial injuries Emily initially lost her speech and due to shock she was also unable to walk for a short time, thankfully through time, the continued support of the hospital and trauma team her speech has fully returned.
“Understandably Emily has been left not just with a physical scar but with mental scars too and thankfully Changing Faces has been there to help.
“They support Emily by offering guidance to help her gain confidence, rebuild her self esteem and learn techniques that she can use when handling other people’s reactions like staring or asking her uncomfortable questions.
“They teach Emily confidence skills through sharing other children’s experiences, supporting the feelings and emotions to deal with post traumatic stress and simply helping her return to normality as smoothly as possible.
“Emily is gradually gaining her confidence and she is making fantastic progress, continuing to impress her health care professionals and her family.
“But most importantly she is still managing to show that beautiful smile.”
Sharon added: “The walk was a huge success and it was overwhelming to see us all come together as one to raise money for Changing Faces.
“To be met and personally thanked at the end by Emily made every step worthwhile, she’s an incredible young lady.
“We’ve got more events planned for this year to help to continue the great work that this Charity provides.”
You can find out more about Changing Faces at www.changingfaces.org.uk/support-us