“No one need be excluded from the joy of cycling.”

The Beginning

At only five days old, Aimee was rushed to hospital amidst fears of severe dehydration. The family were told that she had contracted meningitis and only had a 5% chance of survival within a critical 24-hour window. While Aimee pulled through, the family returned home with no idea as to what her future held, and it quickly became clear that survival had left an after-effect. At nine months old, Aimee’s mother, Charlotte, was told her daughter had Cerebral Palsy, a motor disability that changed the family’s lives forever.

During a trip to the local park, when Aimee was three, Charlotte saw Aimee’s eyes light up at the sight of children riding bikes in the park, and immediately set about looking for bikes for disabled children.


The Challenge

The challenge for Charlotte and Aimee was not in finding a trike that would work for Aimee, but funding one. Despite Aimee’s lack of use of her legs, as soon as she was on the demo trike during the assessment, she began to pedal by herself, making the choice of Tomcat as the trike manufacturer a clear one. The trike was expensive but, after a year of fundraising with the support of the local community, they had raised enough money to get the trike.

Unfortunately, Aimee then developed hip dysplasia, requiring major surgery, and she was unable to use the trike due to the pain it caused. When she was finally able to ride again, Charlotte was dismayed to discover that Aimee had had a growth spurt and was now too big for the trike. However, with the support of the local community, Charlotte looked back to fundraising for a second trike.


The Solution

While the pandemic made it difficult, the community pulled together once again, in order to fund Aimee’s trike. They held, amongst other events, a virtual balloon race, as well as raffles and donations from local businesses, which were brilliant, but Charlotte was still struggling to raise the final £1000 until the Rebuilding Futures Fund from Meningitis Now stepped in to make up the shortfall. Charlotte says that she cried when she found out they had received the award, knowing that she really wanted the trike to come in time for Aimee’s birthday and time was running out. The award covered the amount needed.

Aimee’s new trike is bespoke built to suit her, with lateral supports and a chest harness so that she can cycle safely.


The Result

Aimee was able to receive her trike and continue her cycling journey, joining in with so many other children. Charlotte said:

“When she gets on it, I know she’ll get excited to be going out and doing things children her age are doing, that she can join in with. She can’t do most things other kids her age are doing but she can ride a bike and that gives us great joy.”

Meningitis Now’s Helpline and Information Manager, Claire Donovan, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to help deliver this special birthday trike for Aimee through our Rebuilding Futures Fund. Happy Birthday Aimee!”

Meningitis has a devastating impact on many aspects of life, and can affect people’s ability to engage in activities that most will take for granted. The Rebuilding Futures Fund makes a difference by helping to provide practical solutions that work.

Nazia White, the Marketing Manager at Tomcat, adds:

“We’re delighted to be part of the solution to help Aimee get back in the saddle. Her story is a lovely example of how our bespoke and innovative solutions mean no one need be excluded from the joy of cycling, whatever their physical ability or degree of learning difficulty.”

The Rebuilding Futures Fund provides financial, practical, and emotional support for all those affected by meningitis.

It comprises three separate areas – Health and Wellbeing; 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 Regional Support Officer or our Helpline, on 0808 80 10 388 or by emailing helpline@meningitisnow.org.