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On top of the world! Young woman with Locked-In Syndrome reaches summit of Moel Famau

Published date: 24 January 2017 |
Published by: Sam Torr
Read more articles by Sam Torr


 

A WOMAN who suffered a stroke and was left paralysed reached the summit of Moel Famau, thanks to a Flintshire-based charity.

Volunteers from North East Wales Search and Rescue (NEWSAR), whose offices are based in Mold, helped Mia Austin, 21, reach the summit by driving her up in one of their mountain rescue vehicles.

In 2009 Mia, from Wirral, suffered a devastating stroke. 

At first, thoughts were focused on whether Mia would survive the weekend but, against the odds, Mia did survive.

She was left paralysed from the neck down, unable to speak or move her limbs – a condition known as Locked-In Syndrome.

She has no voluntary movement and cannot speak and she communicates through eye movement or a spell chart.

Before her stroke Mia and her close friend Richard Williams used to go into the mountains regularly.

Since her stroke, she has been indicating through eye movement and a spelling chart that she would like Richard to take her to the top of Moel Famau again – so he called NEWSAR to see if they could help.

Pictures by Rick Matthews / NWN Media

Richard said: “Mia’s very determined. With the help of her carers, she’s already been on a zip wire in Snowdonia, done an indoor sky dive, sledged at Chill Factore, visited local villages in Africa and recently went to Calais to give aid at the Jungle Camp.

“Moel Famau is somewhere we spent a lot of time together so I knew it would mean the world to her to go up there again.”

NEWSAR is a volunteer search and rescue organisation and their primary operating area is in North East Wales mainly covering the counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire, Wrexham and parts of Conwy and Powys.

Speaking of the trip up Moel Famau for Mia, NEWSAR team leader Chris Griffiths said: “One of the things on Mia’s wish list was to go to the top of Moel Famau and so what we did was meet up with Mia and her family and using two mountain rescue vehicles we took her and the family to the summit.

“We were very lucky because, as we arrived at the top, the clouds parted, there were blue skies and she absolutely loved it. It was a really easy fix for us to look after Mia and make sure she was safe.”

Chris said it was a pleasure that the team were able to help Mia tick on of the items on her wish list.

“We drove up so it took us about 20 minutes and Mia spent about 40 minutes at the top taking in the views and enjoying it with her friends and family.

“It was a pleasure for the NEWSAR team to be involved with helping out such a lovely lady with such a wonderful family.”

Becky Vaughan from NEWSAR added the team was “honoured” to be asked to help Mia and her friends achieve another of her dreams.

In 2010, a group of close friends and family completed the Three Peak Challenge to raise money to get Mia back home. The Wirral community got behind the challenge, and many local businesses, friends and supporters got involved in a variety of different fundraising causes.

With the money raised so far, Mia’s home has gone through significant renovation to support all the changes in their life.

It has also enabled the family to purchase the essential specialist kit and treatments needed to support Mia. 

Her latest piece of kit is a computer controlled via eye-movements so she can communicate with friends and family.

Mia said: “NEWSAR has helped make this wish come true.”

A Facebook page was set up so Mia can post her poems and thoughts as she goes through her treatments.

It can be found at www.facebook.com/pg/ MountainsForMia

  • See full story in the Leader

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

 

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