Group abseils down Northampton Lift Tower to fund home adaptations for severely disabled girl

The funds raised will help a family in Wootton to build an extension onto their home so they can provide around the clock care for their two-year-old daughter

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 4:10 pm

Brave volunteers have abseiled down the National Lift Tower to fund urgently needed home adaptations for a severely disabled girl.

The group of 12 took on the colossal challenge on Saturday, June 25 in a bid to raise the money needed for a family in Wootton to adapt their home for their two-year-old daughter, who suffers with a rare life-limiting metabolic condition called Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH).

Amongst the volunteers was urgent care assistant for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), Ami Barron.

Twelve people abseiled down the National Lift Tower on Saturday to help build an extension to enable two-year-old Eleni's family to care for her.

Ami, 30, said: “I personally loved it, I am always up for a challenge - I don’t think I can say the same for everyone else!”

The abseiling team was made up of EMAS staff and people who came forward to help from social media – Tim, Carole, Tanya, Georgie, Quaide, Ami, Dale, Kelly, Louise and Rachel. Also amongst the abseilers was Eloise Sarah Latimer – the mother of two-year-old Eleni, who needs her home adapted to accommodate her disability.

Many of the participants dressed as bumblebees for the event. According to the laws of aerodynamics, a bumblebee’s wings should not give it the ability to fly but it does anyway. Similarly, parents of babies with NKH are told their babies will not survive, but they do – thus, the bumblebee became a symbol for those living with NKH.

Due to high winds, the group had to descend the 127m tower on the inside but this did not deter the willing volunteers and they raised around £3,306 from the day in total.

Two-year-old Eleni lives with a rare life-limiting metabolic condition called Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH).

The funds will go into a pot so that an extension can be built onto the home of Eloise and Neil Shaw so they can adapt it for their two-year-old daughter, Eleni, who needs around the clock care due to being severely disabled and suffering from uncontrollable seizures.

The extension will help to provide a ground-floor bedroom, a wet room, a hoist, a fold-down adult size changing table and storage space for Eleni’s medical equipment and medications.

Eloise and Neil applied to West Northamptonshire Council for a disabled facilities grant, which will cover £30,000 of costs. However, with inflation and building costs sky-rocketing, the total costs are predicted to be over £45,000.

Unless these additional costs are funded by Eloise and Neil, the grant cannot be provided to them. They will need to raise between £10,000 and £15,000 off their own backs to secure the grant.

Ami said: “I think we will smash it. We will do it and get Eleni the best room and everything she needs and it will make Eloise’s family’s life easier.

"I just feel so sad that friends have to get involved when more should be done for families. Not everyone uses social media - if you don’t have that support then I don’t know how you do it.”

Follow Eleni’s journey on the ‘Little Fighter Named Eleni’ Facebook group or make a donation by visiting Eleni’s sponsored abseil Just Giving page.