Poorly seven-year-old's unicorn dream comes true - thanks to the Doncaster Free Press
Little Freya Dawson had little to smile about last Christmas.
With the day falling just a couple of months after she underwent major brain surgery for a condition that could have killed her, she was due to have a second operation just months afterwards.
Mum Amy remembers her opening her presents as if she was doing a job.
But this year, her family is planning to make it a Christmas to remember – and the Doncaster Free Press has teamed up with Horse World in Tickhill to make one of her dreams come true with a special festive treat.
We heard how Freya had undergone surgery for hydrocephalus when we interviewed her mum last year, causing her to suffer headaches and fits, and affecting her personality. It also meant she could not go out to play with her friends. She has recently been fitted for a wheelchair and there are concerns she may get a form of arthritis.
But when we heard she loved unicorns, we contacted Bev Griffiths at Horse World, near Tickhill, and asked if she could arrange for Freya to meet a real ‘unicorn’ at Christmas.
Bev said she’d love to, and on Tuesday, Amy brought Freya down – where she had a ride on a ‘unicorn’ and also led it for a walk.
Amy told Freya she would be meeting a unicorn the day before – and when the animal trotted out to meet her at the stables, seven-year-old Freya from Broomhouse Lane, Balby, squealed with exitement.
Bev kitted Freya out in riding gear and took her for a ride on Fairy the unicorn around a specially prepared area.
Amy said: “Freya had surgery in September 2018, but it took her a few months to get better. On Christmas Day she was on the sofa opening presents as if it was a job. She had to go back into hospital soon after.
“This year we want Christmas to be special for her.
“What she has done today will help make up for last Christmas. It has been a special day for her.”
“We love to help children like this,” said Bev. “It was lovely to see her face as she saw the ‘unicorn’.”
Amy first started showing signs of her condition when she started to become a bit clumsy, and falling behind in terms of some of her milestones, like learning to walk.
She began to struggle at school and started to become forgetful.
Then last July, a neurologist decided she should have an MRI scan.
The doctors found fluid on the brain and and a cyst, and referred Freya to a brain surgeon, with an appointment available in September.
The doctor was concerned enough to insist on operating within days. He saw Freya on September 13. She was in hospital by September 18, and she was in the operating theatre the following day.
Amy says it is very likely that Freya will need more operations. She is likely to need a shunt – a thin tube implanted in the brain to drain excess fluid to another part of the body, usually the tummy, from where it can absorbed into the bloodstream.
She may have to have weekly injections.
The family has since worked to raise money for the charity Shine, which supports people suffering from hydrocephalus or spina bifida.