Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre hosted a celebration on Saturday as 15-year-old Eboni Bunn thanked supporters for changing her life.
They raised £25,000 in only six months to help improve the quality of her life by buying her a hi-tech wheelchair.
Eboni’s story touched the heart-strings of everyone who met her. At the age of four she was diagnosed with the heart defect, hypertrophic cardio myopathy, then, after her eighth birthday she began to lose the use of her legs.
It was caused by the degenerative disease, ataxia, added to which she now has scoliosis of the spine which has confined her to a wheelchair for the last four years.
The Karma electric-powered Evo Lectus chair is customised to the needs of each individual user with swivel and height controls.
The chair seat rises and alters it’s angle, lifting her up by as much as 40cms which enables Eboni to stand upright.
“For the first time I can look my mother straight in the eye,” Eboni said. “Now she can also reach up into the cupboard to make tea for all the family,” added her mother Lisa Belverstone.
The chair enables her to travel from her home near Hunstanton lighthouse into the town to go shopping. It also helps her better negotiate the corridors and classrooms of St Clement High School where she is a pupil.
Fundraising started in October 2016 and the target had been achieved by March 2017.
Initially 35 members of the family rallied around to raise around £1,700 at a family fun day at the town’s community centre. In the same month Eboni’s mother’s partner, Tony Birch, organised a disco at Heacham’s public hall, plus a head-shave, which raised another £1,560.
Their efforts were backed up with a multitude of offers to fund the chair from local charities and organisations.
A remarkable list of local organisations came together to help the fund-raising. Major supporters including both Hunstanton’s Rotary and the Round Table clubs. Donations came from three local Masonic lodges, Ephraimites, Le Strange and Martin Foulkes, and the Warehouse Clearing Shop presented £700 raised from the sale of 5p plastic bags.
Hunstanton’s Ladies Circle also put their weight behind the fundraising. Even the prestigious national show business charity, the Grand Order of the Water Rats, who rarely aid anyone other than fellow entertainers, was a major donor.
“It gives me a wonderful new freedom,” said a delighted Eboni as she practised running her chair in and out of the theatre’s entrance.