Eleven directors from Specsavers stores in Bristol have teamed up to help a Bedminster family get back on the road after their beloved and specially adapted bike was stolen from their home in August.

More than just a bike 

Kelly and David Gilbert discovered the theft from their home after returning from a family wedding. The bike, which included a customised passenger seat for their daughter, was used to promote awareness of the charity, The Freya Foundation, which was set up in her name. 

Pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency

Five-year-old Freya Gilbert was diagnosed with the life-limiting disease pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency in June 2011, just before her first birthday. The rare condition is characterised by the build up of a chemical called lactic acid in the body and a variety of neurological problems. Freya is one of just 250 children across the world to suffer from the disorder, which affects every cell in her body.

The family made an appeal for information in their local paper which was soon spotted by Chris Child, store director at the Clifton store. ‘As soon as I read about the theft and how much the bike meant to the Gilbert family, I knew we had to help,’ he explained. ‘I got in contact with fellow directors in Bristol, and we all agreed to replace the bike and seat for Freya and her family.’

Generous donation

Kelly Gilbert commented: ‘After such a terrible week, hearing from Specsavers was just what we needed. We are so overwhelmed by their kindness and so grateful for this generous donation.’

Dad, David, is a keen cyclist and when he was not taking his daughter out and about in Bedminster, he used the bike to promote the Freya Foundation at events in and around Bristol. Set up in his daughter’s name in 2014, the foundation has already raised £22,000 and aims to raise awareness of Freya’s rare condition, as well as to support other charities.

‘David loves taking Freya out on bike rides and seeing the joy on her face is so wonderful,’ Kelly said. ‘This donation from Specsavers has helped us continue to make memories as a family, and also continue to raise awareness of the work we do with the Freya Foundation. Thank you Specsavers!’

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