Fundraiser launched to help Hackney "miracle baby" walk and run

"Miracle baby" Maija Pettitt weighed just 470 grams when she was born. 

"Miracle baby" Maija Pettitt weighed just 470 grams when she was born. - Credit: Elke Pettitt

A family from Hackney is fundraising for a RaceRunner, which will enable their little girl to walk and run despite a difficult start in life. 

"Miracle baby" Maija Pettitt, now six years old, was born prematurely at 23 weeks and five days.

And, despite living with quadriplegia, a form of paralysis, along with other medical conditions, the youngster has amazed her family and doctors.

Maija was just 470g when she was born and spent six months in two newborn intensive care units in Tower Hamlets and Hackney.  

Sadly her twin brother, who arrived a week later, only lived for 30 days.

Her parents are now fundraising to get Maija her own RaceRunner to help her walk and run independently. 

Her parents are now fundraising to get Maija her own RaceRunner to help her walk and run independently. - Credit: Elke Pettitt


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Maija’s mum, Elke Pettitt said: “Maija has amazed us all. She’s come such a long way since then, from being ventilated, on oxygen and tube-fed to now being an energetic little girl who loves to learn and play.

“She first tried out the RaceRunner at a fantastic accessible running club in East London set up by a local physiotherapist and has since trialled a number of trikes at Hackney Ark Centre."

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A RaceRunner is a three-wheeled bike without pedals which gives disabled people the body support to walk, run and jog independently. 

Maija's family describe her as "an eternally hamppy little camper". 

Maija's family describe her as "an eternally hamppy little camper". - Credit: Elke Pettitt

Elke continued: "There are usually at least four or five other children and their families there, with various disabilities and all different ages.

"It’s really nice to meet up with others who we can relate to. But it would be great for Maija to have her own equipment to use whenever she can. "

Maija with her older brother Till, mum Elke and dad Rawden. 

Maija with her older brother Till, mum Elke and dad Rawden. - Credit: Elke Pettitt

As Maija is not able to operate her wheelchair or walker independently, she currently requires "constant assistance" to move, however, the Race-Runner's engineering offers greater freedom and many health benefits. 

Elke added: "Maija’s journey has been a difficult one, but I’m so proud of her. She’s surprised us all with her determination. She really doesn’t let anything stand in her way.

“She truly is our miracle."

Maija spent six months in two newborn intensive care units after she was born. 

Maija spent six months in two newborn intensive care units after she was born. - Credit: Elke Pettitt

Children’s disability charity, Children Today Charitable Trust, has pledged to cover more than a third of the cost of the RaceRunner but the family still need to raise £1,083 to get the trike. 

Emma Prescott, charity director at Children Today Charitable Trust, added: “We desperately want to help Maija get her RaceRunner, so we’re asking you to donate whatever you can afford to help this exceptional little girl."

To donate, visit www.childrentoday.org.uk/helpmaija


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