A Naval officer’s daughter with serious health issues has benefitted from a donation by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund.
A seriously-ill teenage girl, Harriet Bond – the daughter of submariner Lt Ian Bond – has received a life-changing Christmas gift thanks mainly to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund and Naval welfare support service.
Harriet, aged 13, has been given a special text-based mobile phone to allow her to communicate more regularly with friends and family.
Until now Harriet has been loaned a similar phone – called a Lightwriter Connect and costing almost £5,000 – during her daytime attendance at the Lavinia Norfolk Centre in Angmering, a centre for young children with physical, mental, medical and sensory difficulties.
But having her own, upgraded model – which has been funded by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund charity and two local Rotary clubs – will open up her world 24 hours a day.
She will be able to stay in touch with her group of close friends plus when necessary have phone conversations with mum Sarah, dad Ian and 19-year-old brother Henry.
She became seriously ill in 2006 with a rare neurological condition Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM).
She suffered another episode of the illness in 2009 which left her with severe mobility, speech and feeding difficulties, although her intellectual capabilities remain intact.
Harriet’s family has been supported throughout her illness by the Naval Personal and Family Service and Royal Marines Welfare which offers a comprehensive social work service to RN personnel and their families.
They played a big part, securing the funds to ensure Harriet receives the £4,585 Lightwriter in time for Christmas.
Two special mounts to allow the Lightwriter to be fitted to Harriet’s two wheelchairs were provided by the Snowdrop charity.
Harriet’s submariner father, Lt Bond, said: “Harriet’s illness has been devastating to our family; she is such a lovely, full-of-life girl who always has a smile on her face.
“Her first episode of ADEM saw her make a very good recovery in a short space of time. However this time around her improvements have been a lot slower. We all remain positive that her recovery will continue to improve.
“The level of support she has received has been extremely uplifting.
“This new Lightwriter will enable her to socialise with her new friends she is making at Lavinia Norfolk Centre.
“Thank you just doesn’t sound enough but we are all very grateful to all who have helped her.”