Jade, 10, who has recently returned from the World Para Surf Championships in California, where she reached the semi- finals of the worldwide competition, needs to practise year-round. But, living on the north-east coast of Scotland, sometimes the sea temperature can be a bit offputting.
So, we were as pleased as she was to be able to give her one of our Rebuilding Futures Fund awards for an adaptive wetsuit. A made to measure wetsuit will provide the protection she requires to train all year round.
Jade, who had to have surgery on all four limbs after being struck down by meningitis when she was two, took up the sport just over a year ago.
She was hospitalised for six months when she became ill but says, “I don’t remember being in hospital, but I’m now a quadruple amputee. I use a power chair to get to and from school and a skateboard when I’m out playing. At home I scoot around by shuffling on my bum.
“When I go surfing I feel so happy. I absolutely love it. My mum and dad say it’s my ‘Happy Place’.
“When I was told I was going to be representing Scotland at surfing, I felt like I was going to burst!
“It was an amazing opportunity. There’s not many 10-year-olds who get the chance to do this.”
Not only was Jade officially the youngest ever female surfer to compete, overall she ranked 7th out of 14 – a fantastic result for the Aberdeenshire youngster.
Jade added: “We made friends from all over the world. It was great fun meeting people from different places. Even the people directly competing against me were so friendly and welcoming.
“Going forward I just want to keep enjoying surfing and see what happens.”
The hope is that she will be training with Surfable Scotland, aiming towards the 2028 Paralympics, should the event be included.
On hearing of the Rebuilding Futures Fund award Jade’s mum told us: “Wow! That is absolutely fantastic news. She will be absolutely delighted. Thank you so much for agreeing to fund the wetsuit … it really will make a massive difference.”
Delighted to help
Caroline Lyons, our Information and Assessment Nurse, said: “We’re so pleased to know that the Rebuilding Futures Fund has been able to support Jade in this way and that it will have such a positive impact on her life.
“We know meningitis can have a devastating impact on many aspects of life and affect people’s ability to engage in some of the things most people take for granted.
“That’s where our Rebuilding Futures Fund can make such a difference by providing a practical solution that works.
“We’re proud to provide this unique, life-changing support – the only meningitis organisation to do so in the UK.”
Apply to the Rebuilding Futures Fund
Our Rebuilding Futures Fund provides financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.
It comprises four separate areas – Health and Wellbeing; Opportunities; Specialist Equipment; and Bereavement. Each area provides funding towards different types of support, but they are all designed to help people rebuild their futures with hope and confidence.
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from the Rebuilding Futures Fund, please get in touch by contacting your Community Support Officer or our Helpline, on 0808 80 10 388 or by emailing email@example.com.