Image credit: Eliska Zidova

The mum trying to raise £8k to buy her four year old son an off-road wheelchair

The fundraiser will help Eddie, who has cerebral palsy, to keep up with his friends

MUM Eliska Zidova is trying to raise enough money for an off-road wheelchair for her four-year-old son Eddie who is living with cerebral palsy.

Right now, Eddie has a standard wheelchair from the NHS.

However, mum-of-two Eliska said: “Eddie is so active and enjoys being outside and being adventurous, so the current wheelchair is not suitable to his needs.

“I asked the NHS if they could find anything better – but they said no.”

Eddie’s current wheelchair is heavy and does not allow him to play or keep up with the other children at school.

Eddie on Penarth seafront. Image: Eliska Zidova

The cost of the off-road, or terrain, wheelchair itself was £4,850.

Eliska, 30, who lives in Gabalfa, said she did not have the money to spare so she turned to the community for help.

In just the first week, her GoFundMe page had raised almost £5,000.

“It was just so overwhelming because it happened so quick – my son is so loved by everyone in school and in the community,” said Eliska.

After reaching the fundraising goal, Eddie went for an assessment and demo in his new wheelchair. After having his measurements taken, Eliska received a new quote of £8,500.

She said: “I was so surprised that all of the standard extras such as seat belt or a foot plate were so expensive.

“I thought it would be just a few hundred extra for the add-ons that Eddie needs but I did not expect it to nearly double. I felt so disheartened.”

Eliska, who is determined to meet the new fundraising goal, said: “The wheelchair will last him around 10 years so it is worth it, but I did not expect such a high price.

“I will always have the option to have a standard one for the NHS so in 10 years I will again be looking at more options.

“I plan to start saving now by putting money aside every month so that we have the money in 10 years.”

Eddie in his current wheelchair. Image: Eliska Zidova

Eliska also opened up about the other financial worries she has when it comes to Eddie’s future. She said: “There is a potential that he may be able to benefit from a spinal surgery – but it has been indicated to me that he may not be eligible on the NHS, so the surgery will cost another £16,000.

“If the doctors assure me that this surgery is what can get him to walk again, then £16,000 is nothing – if it helps have a normal life – I will find the money.”

Eliska and Eddie’s story

Eliska and Eddie. Credit: Eliska Zidova

Eliska, who is from the Czech Republic came to Wales in 2015 and works in Cardiff University’s visa compliance department.

At 24 weeks pregnant, Eliska gave birth to Eddie in May 2018.

Eliska said: “Out of nowhere I just started bleeding. I went to the hospital and after three days there he was born. Eddie was in the hospital for five months afterwards.

“I was just always waiting for a phone call to know if he was going to survive – he was just so small.

“He had a large bleed on the right and left side of his brain and at that time I knew that this was going to affect his life but it was just a long waiting game to find out how much.”

Eddie was diagnosed when he was just a year old. Eliska and Eddie’s father Benjamin, 28, decided to have Eddie tested when they noticed he was struggling to do standard things like rolling over.

“The official diagnosis was hard for both of us – when it is put on paper it hits you that it is going to be for the rest of your life,” Eliska said.

After Eddie’s birth, Eliska struggled with misplaced feelings of guilt.

Eliska said: “It took me more than a year to realise that it was not my fault Eddie was born so early.

“So when Eddie was very poorly it became very hard to even go to the hospital. Sometimes I had days where I didn’t even want to go in and I wanted to escape and never come back and other days when I wanted to be in the hospital all the time.”

In May 2022, Eliska was diagnosed with an invasive type of breast cancer whilst she was pregnant with her daughter, Elin.

Eliska found out she had breast cancer after she found a lump in her right breast when she was four months pregnant.

“My doctor didn’t think it was anything because in pregnancy you get lumps all the time because of the milk ducts,” said Eliska.

Eventually her consultant referred her to a breast cancer centre where they found a 5cm tumour.

Eliska gave birth to her daughter Elin six weeks before she had to start chemotherapy and in January this year, she completed her cancer treatment.

Eliska’s battle with cancer is what inspired her to get her son a wheelchair that can provide him with a better quality of life.

“I want to do something for him because for the months of treatment I was just unable to do anything for the children,” she said.

Eliska, Eddie, Lloyd and Elin. Image: Eliska Zidova

Raising a child with cerebral palsy is not an easy task and Eliska is very grateful for all the support she has from her partner Lloyd, 29, the father of Elin.

Eliska said: “It is not an easy life. It is everyday.

“Eddie strives on routine so anything out of routine or any changes are really difficult for him to adjust to.

“Physically it is tiring, especially after my pregnancy and having cancer last year. I definitely struggled to keep up with it all – but it is getting better.

“You just have to keep going because you don’t have a choice – you just keep going for the children.”

Eliska said that despite these struggles: “I would never change Eddie – he is a bundle of joy – every new word that he learns – every new way he learns to do things – it just makes me happy.”

To donate to ‘help get Eddie rollin’ again’ click here.