A deaf and blind schoolgirl has appeared in a national charity’s marketing campaign helping to raise almost £200,000 to send children with complex disabilities on holiday.
Eleven-year-old Teegan Carpenter, who attends Royal School for the Deaf Derby, has no peripheral vision and is profoundly deaf. She also has global developmental delay, cerebral palsy and hip dysplasia, which means that one of her legs is shorter than the other.
She was adopted by her parents Karen and Ian Carpenter when she was just two years old and, until last year, the couple had been unable to find a holiday destination that was suitable for Teegan’s needs.
But after enjoying her first independent holiday with the charity Sense, Teegan agreed to star in the charity’s fundraising appeal, inspiring donations which have reached a staggering £198,713.
Teegan’s story appears on the charity website and photographs of her enjoying her break in the heart of the Cotswolds, at an accessible woodland venue called Macaroni Wood are also featured on its leaflets and envelopes.
Mum Karen Carpenter said: “Teegan is an absolute joy and the light of our lives. She has many challenges to overcome, but she always has a smile on her face and she was very excited about being the star of Sense’s appeal.
“She had an amazing time at Macaroni Wood and knowing that she had one-to-one care meant that we could relax. It was Teegan’s first time away from us, so we stayed locally in case we were needed, but they kept us up to date and she had a fabulous time.
“She enjoyed a trip to the farm to collect chicken eggs and she loved seeing the animals in the wildlife park. She’s drawn some pictures of the animals she saw which Sense has also used in the campaign.
“I think people worry about adopting children with disabilities and there’s no doubt that it is hard. But children thrive with the right support and it has been wonderful to see Teegan develop and grow.
“She is really proud that she’s helped Sense raise so much money, but she’s more excited about going away on another of their holidays.”
Sense Holidays are designed for children and adults who are deafblind or have multisensory impairments. Each holiday is led by a skilled and experienced leader who works with family and carers to plan a break that best matches a person’s interests.
Alanna Bentley, Sense Holidays Coordinator said: “With one-to-one support, Teegan enjoyed an unforgettable Sense Holiday, last year. It was her first independent trip away from home, and crucially, it gave her family the time they needed to rest without the worries and stresses that can come with caring for a child who is deafblind.
“Teegan was keen to support us so that more children could benefit from a Sense Holiday. She agreed to be the star of our fundraising appeal, which, to date, has raised an astonishing £198,713.
“Teegan’s Sense Holiday gave her the freedom to be the child she should be able to be. Now, thanks to her, more children won’t be left out because of their disabilities.”
The appeal is still running. To find out more visit: https://www.sense.org.uk/support-us/donate/sense-holiday/