Another £1.5 million to disabled children after lobbying from Harpenden campaigner

Herts Advertiser Community Awards 2016 Parent in a Million winner Sarah Hope.

Herts Advertiser Community Awards 2016 Parent in a Million winner Sarah Hope. - Credit: Archant

Another £1.5 million has been set aside to buy disabled children better prosthetic limbs.

Sarah and her daughters on TV. Left to right: Sapphire, Pollyanna, Sarah, Carol Vorderman .

Sarah and her daughters on TV. Left to right: Sapphire, Pollyanna, Sarah, Carol Vorderman . - Credit: Archant

Sarah Hope is a Harpenden campaigner who has been pushing for child amputee rights since 2007, when she was involved in a crash with her mother Elizabeth and then two-year-old daughter Pollyanna.

They were hit by a bus mounting the pavement near London’s Mortlake station - Elizabeth was killed, Sarah was seriously hurt, and Pollyanna lost her leg.

In 2012, Sarah became outraged the NHS could only supply Pollyanna with a static leg. She lobbied parliament for running blades to be made available for all children missing limbs.

The Government conceded to the pressure in 2016 and allocated £1.5 million for new sports prosthetics. Not only did more than 200 children benefit from it, but £750,000 funded through the National Institute for Health Research was used to create a Child Prosthetics Research Collaboration.

The collaboration has already researched 3D printing in prosthetic socket liners, a game to help children train their muscles, and the development of bionic prosthetics.

Now a second lump sum of £1.5 million is being given to the NHS for child amputees and to support research into improving prosthetic technology.

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The plans were announced by care minister Caroline Dinenage: “Sport and activity are so important to any child’s health, wellbeing and confidence, and today’s announcement should help many more disabled children to fulfil their sporting ambitions.

“Hundreds have already benefitted from the fund, and this additional investment will now help us to open up even more possibilities for children with limb loss, and hopefully ignite in them a lifelong passion for sport.”

Sarah won a Pride of Britain Award in 2017 for her role in the campaign.

She said: “Children are born with the desire to be free to run like the wind, join in with sport, to play with their friends and to walk without difficulty. My daughter, who has lost her right leg below the knee, has chosen to dance like an angel.

“We must always remember that amputees are missing a part of their body, so we really need to give them the very best we can so they can try to live the life they were born to live.”

She stressed the running blades are life changing for children.

After the incident, Sarah also set up the charity Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope and opened The Sarah Hope Line, a confidential support service for people involved in London traffic accidents.

For ten years of unfaltering charity work, Sarah has won the Point of Light and the Herts Ad Community Awards Parent in a Million accolade.

Double leg amputee and double Paralympic champion in T42 200m, Richard Whitehead, said: “As a double gold Paralympian and four time world champion, I think it’s important that the Paralympics don’t just leave a legacy every four years and then are otherwise forgotten about.

“I’m the most successful athlete who uses sports prosthetics, so I’ve seen first-hand the powerful impact they can have. A child taking just one or two steps using these prosthetics can make the world of difference and open their eyes to what they can achieve.”