‘Helping Ellie’ – village’s fundraising quest

Yvonne and Ellie Renton, right, with Ellie's playmate Ivan and his mum Heidi Tattersall.  (120524M1b)
Yvonne and Ellie Renton, right, with Ellie's playmate Ivan and his mum Heidi Tattersall. (120524M1b)
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The mother of a seriously ill little girl has spoken of her gratitude to the friends and neighbours who have come together to help her daughter.

Five months ago, Yvonne and Martin Renton’s two-year-old daughter Ellie was diagnosed with a muscle wasting disease that will see her rely on a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Since then, the village community in Kirkby Malzeard has started fundraising to help the family plan for Ellie’s future.

“Sometimes I lay awake at night thinking that this is a good village, and a good community. I am overwhelmed, I can’t thank them enough,” Yvonne said.

Ellie suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and as she grows will need a motorised wheelchair to get around.

The Renton need to adapt their home with through-floor lift to get Ellie’s wheelchair upstairs, as well as ramps, a wet room, hoists, and even lowered work surfaces in the kitchen.

Without their friends’ help to fund the work the couple, their three-year-old son William, and Ellie, would have to move to new home away from the village they love, Yvonne said.

Worries for Ellie’s health began in summer 2011, when Yvonne and Martin noticed their little girl could no longer stand on her own while holding on to the edge of the bath.

Yvonne spoke to their health visitor who recommended she first take Ellie to a physiotherapist, but it was not until December that Ellie was diganosed with the genetic disorder.

“Martin was in tears but I was quite calm to begin with. As I started telling people and talking about it, that’s when the tears came.”

As they came to terms with Ellie’s condition a group of their friends came together to organised fundraising for the little girl’s future.

“They come up with all the ideas, I just can’t thank them enough,” Yvonne said.

The ‘Helping Ellie’ group has already raised hundreds with coffee mornings and a domino drive, and they will be holding fun day at Kirkby Malzeard platyng Fields on Sunday, June 24 from 11am-3pm, with traditional games, birds of prey, a barbecue and a display from the 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron.

All proceeds from the day will help the Rentons buy Ellie a specialised buggy to help the family get out and about as she grows, and start adaptations on their home.

And a group of runners from the village’s Wensleydale Creamery are running the Kirkby Malzeard 10k to raise money for Ellie.

For more information or get involved go to www.facebook.com/helpingellie.