The Maher family, from Broadford, County Clare, have had their lives changed since Make-A-Wish granted their daughter Kate’s wish.
Kate (10) was born with Cerebral Palsy in July 2010, she is fully dependent and is also visually impaired.
Make-A-Wish granted Kate’s wish by giving her and her family and e-bike and trailer attachment so they can all go for cycles as a family.
Kate’s mother, Linda said: “We live out in the country and it’s all hills, so the bike assists you when you cycle it, the more you pedal, the more it helps you.”
“A lot of the time she’s aware when we’re getting ready to go some place, and she’ll say, ‘I’ll stay here and mind dad,’ because she knows she’s not going to be able to go. She just wants to be included.”
“So now, it’s a case of ‘I’m going, I’m coming too, we’re all going to go! we’ll all go together,’ and that’s lovely for her to say. We’re all going to do it, I’m not going to be left at home. It gives her a chance to talk about something.”
Kate has been enjoying having the opportunity to show off her new bike when she and her family are out for a cycle.
“If you take her for a walk, if you stop, she gets annoyed, whereas if you take her for a cycle and you stop and you meet somebody, it’s something for her to talk about, so she does be telling everyone, ‘I got a new bike, I’m going to go for a cycle, I’m going to go to Broadford, I’m going to my Nana’s.’
“She doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to make it about her, it’s always what everyone else is doing.”
Previously, planning, and bad weather have been an obstacle to them being able to do things as a family.
Linda said: “The biggest thing for us is you can’t really make an impromptu decision. We can’t just say we’ll go for a hike today or we’ll go for a cycle or we’ll go to the beach.”
“That’s a simple thing that others take for granted, if you want to go some place you don’t really have to plan weeks in advance to make sure that there’s respite available.”
“Whereas now the bike is here, we don’t have to be getting anyone, all the kids are going to be coming with us, and away we go. Just look out the door, say it’s a lovely day, we go for a cycle and the six of us just go! Without any big hoo-haw of is there somebody coming? Have we somebody booked?”
“She’s all lovely and cocooned in the trailer, there’s a big waterproof thing down in front of her, so she’s totally snug. Even if it’s raining or cold or frosty, whereas if it was a walk, you’d say it’s too cold to have her out, it’s too much of a risk, she might get a cold. This is just snug as a bug and you can go any day of the year. It’s that freedom, it’s that spontaneity that you can go and do it.”
Make-A-Wish is asking the public to come behind their campaign to celebrate all our special Mums this Wish Week (8th-14th March)
Kate loves being involved, she loves noise and people and with her three other siblings she joins in with the madness as best she can.
“If you tell her she’s going on a cycle tomorrow, it could be three o clock in the day, and she’ll say ‘can I go to bed?’ because she just wants tomorrow to come. And then, first thing she’ll wake and the minute she hears someone move, she’ll say, ‘good Morning, were going for a cycle today,’ and that’s already a great start to the day!”
“She even shouts at a match and thinks she can see exactly what’s going on and she can’t see at all, but she’ll shout as much as the next person beside her. It could be the opposition that’s scored, and she’ll cheer anyway. She likes to be included and she’s not going to let herself get left out.”
“We didn’t realise the difference it would make. We didn’t realise, that’s its going to add to our lives, not just one small wish today, but it’s every day, it’s as long as Kate’s going to fit into that trailer, we’ll be able include her without it being an ordeal.”
“It’s amazing to support Make-A-Wish, even the smallest donation, because some of the wishes are only a tiny thing.”
Wish Week is running all this week nationwide and you can find more information on www.makeawish.ie/get-involved/wish-week-2021