Fund set up in memory of popular Lowestoft teenager Taylor High continues to boost worthy causes across Waveney
PUBLISHED: 11:15 19 July 2014
Life has never been easy for little Katie Barnard.
Complications at birth left her with severe mobility problems and she is unable to walk unaided.
But now the brave three-year-old is being given a big helping hand by a fund set up in memory of a popular Lowestoft teenager – becoming its 60th beneficiary in less than three-and-a-half years.
The Taylor High Memorial Fund made a £600 donation to the Katie’s Wheels appeal which was launched to help her family purchase the specialised equipment she needs to aid her development.
It came as the fund revealed it had now raised more than £54,000.
Taylor’s parents Elaine and Gary High set up the charitable fund after the 19-year-old’s death in a road crash in west Norfolk in March 2011 – but were unaware of the huge response it would generate.
Since its launch, people have organised scores of fund-raising events and collections, allowing the Highs to help people and good causes across Waveney.
Still amazed by people’s generosity, Mrs High said: “Katie is our 60th beneficiary, and she is really sweet. We have raised more than £54,000 now and given more than £50,000 to worthy causes – reaching the £50,000 milestone was phenomenal.
“It is absolutely incredible the support we have had from the community.”
The fund donated £600 to help Katie who has been diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy and suffers from seizures, leaving her unable to walk or stand unaided.
The money will go to the Katie’s Wheels appeal which is looking to raise about £5,000 that will enable her mum, Emma Baylis, 23, and dad Harry Barnard, 25, to buy her a special walker and trike.
Katie’s nan, Rachel Baylis, said: “Katie is pretty special. My daughter Emma had complications during her birth, which led to a bleed on the brain and we were warned to expect that the problems could be quite severe.
“It has not been easy for Emma and Harry but they have been brilliant.”
She said Katie only had the use of one arm, due to problems with her right side, but she had bravely faced up to her problems and could now sit unaided and move around by shuffling on her bottom.
Her next challenge will come when she attends Poplars nursery in September.
“What we would like to do – and it would be amazing if we could do it – is to have the walker and trike for Katie to use at nursery,” Mrs Baylis said. “She will then have the freedom to walk to school like everyone else and it will help her eventually build up the muscle tone.
“We are grateful for what the NHS has done for Katie and the family, with physio, portage and all their support. But to give her that little bit extra for what she needs at school, she needs this walker and trike, because the one that the NHS supplies sadly would not be fit for purpose for Katie as she can’t hold on to it.”
Grateful for the support they had received from Taylor’s fund, she added: “We would like to say a massive ‘thank-you’ to Elaine, Gary and the Taylor High Memorial Fund for passing on Taylor’s smile and donating a massive £600 to help us on our journey to getting Katie the equipment she needs.”
■ To support Katie’s Wheels, donate online at www.gofundme.com/ayt2d4 or visit the appeal’s Facebook page.
■ The Taylor High Memorial Fund will be holding its annual memorial darts competition at the Ole Frank pub on July 25 and memorial football match at Crown Meadow on August 10. For details, visit its page on Facebook.