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Our supported charity (2011-18)

Bel is a truly extraordinary little girl - well, more a young lady now! Spirited, full of good humour and always upbeat about her predicament, she confronts protracted and exhausting hospital treatment day in, day out, smiling all the way. She has inspired all her family and friends, both young and old by her remarkable example. Nobody who spends any time with Bel can do other than love her and be utterly devoted to her. A spinal injury like Bel's is extremely rare for a child to suffer, and is a parent's heartbreaking worst nightmare.

The "Being Bel" Trust

BelHello! My name is Annabel Young but I like everyone to call me 'Bel'. I am 9 years old and I have a little brother called Harry.

Last June, whilst playing in a neighbour's garden, I lost my hold on the climbing frame and fell. I couldn't breathe and had to be given mouth to mouth until the ambulance arrived. I was rushed to Airedale Hospital and then straight to Leeds General Infirmary where the doctors found I had broken my neck (my second vertebra).

Now I can't move my arms and legs but the worst thing is I can't breathe by myself. I have a tube in my neck called a tracheotomy which is attached to a ventilator. This means that I can't be left on my own, day or night. So I either lie in bed or get strapped into my wheelchair and I'm totally dependent on my mummy, daddy and my nurses for everything I need.

I don't go to my old school anymore. I miss my friends so much and love them all to come and see me and we laugh and giggle but I can't join in any games.

I have to be in hospital every day during the week. I am allowed home at weekends provided there are nurses available to sit with me whilst I sleep during the night in case there is a problem with the ventilator. What I would really like is to spend more time at home. Mummy and daddy are working really hard to get the help and equipment at home so that I can.

Hopefully it won't be long until my wish comes true.

Bel x

Bel's Wishlist

Dear All,

With so many amazing offers of help and donations to the "Being Bel" Trust, we have started planning for Bel's medium to long term needs.

We wanted to put these aspirations down on paper so those of you who wish to help us know exactly what we intend to do with the funds that are so generously donated.

Bel has now spent the majority of her time since her accident in June 2010 in intensive care due to the fact she is ventilator-dependent. Our main aim at the moment is to get Bel home for most, if not all, of her time. If we are to maximise Bel's chances of recovery it is vital that we have the necessary support from trained professionals and carers as well as the most up to date equipment. Anything less will only add to Bel's disability and discomfort. We now understand that it is all about getting the right combination of physiotherapy, diet, comfort and care to enable Bel to progress and regain her independence.

Obviously, the long term objective of the Trust is to support Bel as and when procedures to reverse the effects of her injury are available, particularly if she needs to go abroad for treatment. In the meantime, the following list gives an idea of what we will need to put in place over the coming months.

Bel's Mummy and Daddy

  • Mobility
  • Rehabiltation / Physiotherapy / Care
  • Adaptation of the home
  • Leisure / Education

Mobility is a particular problem in Bel's case but the right equipment can literally change her life for the better. Like any other 9 year old little girl she needs to get out and about and, crucially, spend time outdoors.

A BOLDER WHEELCHAIR. (£20,000 - £25,000)
  • A super electric wheelchair so Bel can gain more independence, operational by Bel's chin
  • Comfort is key. It reclines and changes position.
  • It will allow Bel to get into a standing position
  • This chair offers different seating positions so Bel can get herself on more of an 'eye to eye' level for conversations
  • It can offer remote controlling of some household equipment ie. Switches, on/off buttons
  • It will be able to deal with a number of terrains
ADAPTED CAR. (£20,000)
  • Has to be specifically adapted to accommodate Bel's wheelchair
  • This is a priority for us as it takes up to 6 months to be delivered

Quite simply, the fitter Bel is, the greater the chance she will make a recovery. We are keen to reduce her dependency on drugs, as any parents would be, and hope to put in place a 5 star rehab program for Bel as soon as we can. Also, Bel is totally dependant on others from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to sleep.

PHYSIO BILL. (£500 per week)
We estimate a potential cost of £500 per week to give Bel 10 hours of specialist neuro physiotherapy and rehab at home. We don't know yet how much of this cost will be funded / subsidised by the NHS
  • Straightforward electric adjustable physic table
  • It will enable the physios to operate effectively in our home
  • Allows Bel's body to get into a standing position
  • So important to control hypersensitivity (spasms)
  • Reduces the increased risk of developing Osteoporosis
PHYSIO BIKE. (£1,000)
  • The simplest of repetitive machines which works both hands and legs
  • Cardio as well as strengthening
  • Bel can hopefully then graduate on to a Bionx bike which is an outdoor bike which senses when the user is struggling at which point the battery takes over
CARERS. (£700 per week)
  • Bel's Mummy needs help doing Bel's medical procedures in the morning, getting her from her bed into her wheelchair, washing and showering Bel, and with her care in general.
  • As Bel is currently ventilator-dependent, a carer has to watch over Bel all night to ensure her ventilator does not malfunction
'SLEEP SYSTEM' BED. (£15,000)
  • A specialist bed system which would keep Bel completely straight
  • Very important for Bel's growing spine so that it doesn't grow crooked
Bel cannot cough as her diaphragm does not work, hence she is on a ventilator. Phlegm that builds up in Bel's lungs therefore has to be sucked out via her tracheotomy tube using a portable suction machine. The one funded by the NHS is large and noisy and can be very intrusive and indiscrete if Bel is in a room full of people. There are much smaller and quieter machines available
  • Adapting the house to allow Bel access to the garden, the field and the courtyard
  • To ensure all doorways and floors are appropriate for Bel as she gets more mobile
  • To have enough ramps, including mobile ones
PHYSIO / REHAB ROOM. (£20,000)
We are struggling for room at home and therefore a small extension to the rear of the house would provide room for all Bel's physio and rehab equipment
HOIST SYSTEM. (£2,000)
An easily operational electric hoist to assist in moving Bel, e.g. from chair to chair

Despite the fact that Bel has no meaningful movement below her neck, everything above her injury is the same as any other 9 year old girl!
Whilst we are keen to see Bel in mainstream schooling again, for the time being we have to stimulate her and ensure she is continuing to learn and gather knowledge.

A touch screen computer and head-stylus will be vital for Bel's education and entertainment as well as providing a portal to the outside world via the internet, casebook, email etc. A tablet computer that can travel around the house with Bel in addition to one that is wall mounted next to Bel's bed would be ideal.
  • We are looking to build a system of paths around the field at home so Bel can get out in her multi terrain wheelchair for fresh air and exercise. (£2,000)
  • We can get a specially adapted Rural Pursuit Vehicle which is a seriously tough machine durable enough to cope with ALL terrains. (£6,000)
  • A 'Boma' is a type of motorised 4 wheel bike for the disabled (electric) which can go uphill and down dale and up steps. (£10,000)

We hope that this gives you a flavour of the type of things we, as Bel's parents, are looking to provide for her and any help we can get from donations and bequests into the Trust fund we have set up in her name are so very gratefully received. Words cannot express how thankful we are for all those who have given so generously and those who wish to going forward.

Thank you.