Friends and family are hoping to raise £9,000 to buy a water therapy unit for young Bideford girl with life-limiting illness.

A band of fundraisers are rallying to purchase a water therapy unit to help make life easier for a young disabled girl.

Imogen Smale, four, was born with microcephaly, meaning she has a smaller-than-normal head.

Doctors did not know how this would affect her development but as she has grown she has developed numerous health problems.

Brave fighter

Imogen is registered blind, suffers from polymorphic (severe) epilepsy, is fed through a tube in her stomach and survives on a daily cocktail of medicines.

Recently she has developed severe dystonia, or muscle spasms, which saw her spend three months in intensive care.

Imogen, who lives with mum Emma, dad Mark and two-year-old sister Evie in Bideford, often visits Little Bridge House, run by Children’s Hospice South West, where she spends time in their water therapy unit.

Raising £9,000

Emma said: “We always dreamed it would be lovely to have one for Imogen, but never thought it would happen.

“But suddenly all these people wanted to fundraise for us – it’s just been so overwhelming.”

The family will need to raise £9,000 for the unit with a specialist hoisting system.

Emma added: “Imogen is at her happiest when she is in the water; it helps ease the pain of her muscle spasms and it is a nice sensation for her.

“It can be very isolating as Imogen needs round-the-clock care and it’s difficult for us to get out. This will be something we can all enjoy as a family.”

Lundy kayak

To kick off fundraising, friend of the family Marten Stanbury has organised a band of intrepid paddlers to kayak to Lundy and back in aid of Imogen’s appeal.

The group of eight Bideford Round Tablers are waiting for the right weather conditions for the 40-mile trip, and have so far raised more than £700 through a crowdfunding page.

Stars in their Eyes

On September 11, there will be a special, sold-out ‘Stars in their Eyes’ event at the Pier House, which has already raised more than £1,000.

Emma’s friend, Rebecca May, who organised the event in Westward Ho!, has also helped to organise two separate tattoo voucher raffles, with prizes donated from local tattoo artists.

And at the Milky Way, the 501st UK Garrison, which is appearing at the Star Wars weekend on October 31, has donated £1,000.

Find out more

For more information on all of the different fundraising efforts, join the ‘Imogen’s Page’ Facebook group.

Donate at: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/rebecca-may

Sponsor the kayak challenge at: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kayak-to-lundyback-for-imogen-1