I’m Ellie and I live with my mother and sister in Willenhall, England.
I have Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and Hydrocephalus. I’ve had to use a wheelchair most of my life. It gets boring as I often wish I could be up and about like the other children. I feel lonely watching my sister play with her friends and not being able to join in because I can’t move freely.
I can push myself around using my hands to turn the wheels of my chair, but sometimes I get stuck and then my mother has to come and help set me back on path. It’s hard for her to do this because she has to leave whatever it is she might have been doing at the time.
Our dining room has a lift in one corner that’s how I come downstairs to begin my day each morning. Often, after breakfast or lunch, I sit and watch television or wheel up to the sliding doors that look out onto our garden. The lawn is unkempt and the slabs are uneven, so I can never take my wheelchair outside. In the summer, when the sun is out, I itch to go outside and play.
I love nothing more than planting seeds and watering them with my orange watering can. My mother has tried to fix the garden up a few times, but it hasn’t been easy. After all, she’s a single mother, and a garden makeover is expensive. Whenever she puts some time aside to give it another go, she gets distracted looking after me and my sister, not to mention our puppy.
A few months ago, when she read about a competition hosted by MyBuilder, she took me into the garden (even though the wheels got stuck in the overgrown grass) and took a picture. She uploaded this to the website and within a few weeks, we had won £1,000 towards our garden!
We were so excited. It’s not just that we wanted a wheelchair-friendly garden so that I could play outside. Most of our local parks aren’t disability-accessible. None of our friends’ homes have ramps so when we get invited to barbecues, we don’t ever go. These little things make it difficult for me to interact with other children my age.
It took a week for landscape gardener Chris to tear up our old garden and make a new one. He put in a ramp so that I could move easily between the garden and the house. The slabs were made even and wide enough for my wheelchair and he built a row of planters that were the right height for me to plant my seeds.
My mother and I watched Chris and his team, work throughout the week. We’re already planning a barbecue for all our friends. Even before the garden was completed, my sister started bringing her friends round after school to play. I feel much happier now that I can go outside and play without being restricted because of my wheelchair.
Bio: MyBuilder connects homeowners looking for tradesmen with tradesmen who are looking for work. We love helping out families like Ellie’s by transforming their lives through home improvements both big and small.
You can watch a video of Ellie in her new garden here: http://www.mybuilder.com/competitions/garden-makeover/winning-entry