Happy Sophie in a world of her own
SOPHIE Munro is one in a million.The sparky four-year-old is one of only a handful of children in Britain with Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder which leaves her unable to walk, talk, prone to fits and with severe learning difficulties.
Because of its characteristic jerky movements and cheery disposition, it is also known as happy puppet syndrome - and Sophie positively brims with joy, despite the hand life has dealt her.
Parents Pete and Tammy, of Payton Road, first noticed Sophie was different when she was 15 months old, growing slower than other babies and unable to eat properly.
Pete, 30, said: "Obviously I was gutted when I found out. But I realised we had two options, we give up or make the best of it - so really there was only one option. But you can't feel sorry for her because she hasn't got a
problem with it.
"She's just started to climb on furniture, we think it's a massive achievement, other parents would shout at their kids for doing it!"
Sophie has become a popular member of Glyne Gap School, and the family are taking sign language lessons so they will be able to communicate with her properly in time.
Tammy, 31, said: "It's hard work, I found it very hard to cope with at first, but I wouldn't change her for the world.
She enjoys everything any other child would, swimming, gardening - she loves the outdoors. But she needs watching constantly. She will chew anything! We believe she does understand us, but she doesn't take any notice!"
Pete and Tammy are determined to give Sophie the best life they can, but with the added pressures of a nine-month-old baby, they rely on fundraisers to bring home the extra pennies for specialist equipment.
With the help of Tammy's mum Ann Adams, who owns Hassan Pet Supplies on Bohemia Road, they have organised a charity dog show to raise money for a special trike and car to cater for Sophie's needs. Family, friends and The Men in Black local strippers have all helped with fundraising
activities so far.
Tammy said: "Looking towards the future, we know she needs 24- hour care. Me and Pete are not going to be here forever, and we can't expect her sister to look after her. So all the money we raise goes into a trust fund to look after her and give her whatever she needs. We want to give her the best life we can."
The Companion Dog Show and raffle draw takes place on October 10 at St Paul's YMCA, entries are 1, taken from 12pm. If you cannot attend, but would like to donate some money, make cheques payable to the Sophie Munro Trust.