A Leyland youngster who survived meningitis is taking to the streets to spread her awareness messages.
Nine-year-old Sofia Crockatt was made the first junior ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation last year, and her proud dad Nick says she’s taking the role in her stride.
She’s also loving getting out and about on her new arm-powered cycle, which she got for Christmas.
Nick said: “We’ve tried her with other bikes but she struggles with her ‘blade leg’, and she was getting a bit frustrated.
“She tried an arm-powered cycle out at the Junior Amputee Games last year and just fell in love with it.
“It’s great fun and a good way to exercise, and she’s been terrifying the life out of me and her mum Karen, hurtling up and down the cul-de-sac!
“The bike’s purple to match her leg, and that’s her favourite colour and the colour which represents the Meningitis Research Foundation.
“She’s called it Violet.”
He added: “I’m in training for a few charity runs which I’m doing this year, as Karen and myself are also ambassadors for the foundation, and Sofia is my training partner.
“We go to Cuerden Valley Park and she cycles while I run. She gets a lot of attention from people who have seen her in the press, and she loves talking to them.
“She’s taking her role as junior ambassador very seriously, and enjoys raising awareness of Meningitis whilst also passing on the good news about how well she’s doing.”
Sofia, who lives in Balcarres Road and attends St Catherine’s RC Primary School in Leyland, spent three months in hospital when she was just two years old after contracting meningococcal septicaemia.
The damage to the toddler’s lower limbs was so bad that the doctors had to amputate her left leg below the knee, and it took a long time for her to learn how to walk again using a prosthetic leg.
Now, she’s visiting children’s hospitals to tell her tale, and has also done assemblies in front of her school and a high school.
“She’s very matter-of-fact about it,” Nick says. “She’s very confident for a nine-year-old, she never gets nervous, and we’re so proud of her.”
Visit www.meningitis.org for more information about symptoms, which can be similar to flu symptoms.