A six-year-old with cerebral palsy has climbed South Wales’ highest peak for the first time with the help of the Specsavers team in Aberdare and a children’s charity.

Challenge to raise awareness

Imogen Ashwell-Lewis, from Caldicot, reached the top of Pen y Fan in a modified bike with the help of staff from the Aberdare store, as well as team members from other Specsavers stores, Imogen’s family, army soldiers and charity representatives.

The climb helped raised awareness of Cerebra, which works with children who have brain conditions across Wales and beyond.

Imogen’s mum, Catherine, says: ‘Imogen is so thrilled and excited to have completed this climb. It’s only thanks to the team at Cerebra that she’s been able to have this adventure - she’s never been able to do anything like this before because of her cerebral palsy. There have been so many times that she hasn’t been able to join in with physical activities, which leaves her feeling left out. Being able to do things like this is a real boost to her confidence and self-esteem. She really is over the moon.’

Specsavers in Aberdare, as well as 39 other Specsavers stores in South and Mid Wales, is raising funds for Cerebra as part of a year-long charity partnership. Cerebra supports 4,500 families across Wales and thousands more access its services online.

Achieving ‘something so special’

Neil Robinson, store director at Specsavers Aberdare, says: ‘Imogen and her family are an inspiration to us all, as are the services and support Cerebra provides to them and many other families across Wales. I’m proud of our staff for giving up their time to help Imogen and the charity achieve something so special.

‘We are thrilled to have been able to help raise awareness of the charity’s work and hope it will lead to more young children with brain conditions discovering ways to live a better life with their families.’

Alongside its support services and research work, Cerebra also has an Innovation Centre based within the University of Wales Trinity St David, where bespoke equipment is designed and created, free of charge, to make children’s lives easier. Imogen’s bike was created by Calvin Williams of Project ENDURO – a collaboration between experts at Swansea University, Gower College Swansea and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Project ENDURO was supported by AgorIP, based at Swansea University’s School of Management, who are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Terry Osborn, acting Head of Corporates, Trusts and Legacies at Cerebra, says: ‘We’re delighted to have joined the Specsavers team for the Pen y Fan climb. To be able to take Imogen with is us was a privilege and really does demonstrate that we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be overcome.

‘The invaluable fundraising support from Specsavers means that our Innovation Centre will be able to help more children to overcome their challenges and discover the world around them’.

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