Mum's plea to help 'lovely' son who is 'trapped' inside home

Cameron on the beach in Southport
Cameron on the beach in Southport -Credit:Denise Hunter

A mum said her son's life has been a "battle" since he was born.

Denise Hunter, 47, from Southport, admitted she has struggled raising her four children, one with cerebral palsy, on her own, while battling severe depression. Her children, Eleanor, 24, Sam, 17, Cameron, 16 and Benjamin, 8, have been her reason to fight every single day. But it hasn't always been easy.

Her third child, Cameron, 16, was born with cerebral palsy following an "horrific birth," which has made life for the family difficult. The only ease she has had has been from a trike she bought Cameron when he was younger. Sadly, he has now outgrown it and the mum is struggling to raise funds for a new one, meaning the family are "trapped" inside their home.

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Denise told the ECHO how life started throwing challenges her way following Cameron's birth. She said: "It was an horrific birth from the moment I went into labour. We didn't have a mobile phone so my husband had to keep running out to the phone box to call the hospital. I remember being sat in the bath while in labour. I eventually went into hospital and was put into a room.

"I said to them [the doctors] something is not right. Then the next thing I knew there was a lot of pain, more than usual - I already had two children so I knew it wasn't right - a flood of doctors came in and they said he is too far down the birth canal, and he is going to be breech.

"He was born and there was nothing to tell when he was a baby [that he had cerebral palsy], we didn't notice much. Except that he never fed from birth, we went back and forth from the doctors and they said it was a fever. This baby wouldn't shut up, he just cried and cried, it was depressing."

Denise says Cameron was six months old before "things got moving," she said: "We found out from the doctor that the health visitor had given us the wrong book - you're supposed to get a blue book for a boy and a red book for a girl - we were given a red book for him, which meant all his measurements were wrong for his age. We found out he was too small for a boy and that's when things got put into motion.

Cameron with his brothers, Sam and Benjamin
Cameron with his brothers, Sam and Benjamin -Credit:Denise Hunter

"At nine months we saw a paediatrician and that is when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He was tiny. For nine months he hadn't really eaten it was only then [at nine months old] he started feeding. We realised he was really poorly. He had a scan done that showed that the left side of his brain was dead, he would never use his right arm or right leg."

During this time, Denise sank into a "huge depression." She claims she couldn't get to grips with the reality that she had a special needs child.

But when Cameron turned five, things started to turn for the better for the family and Cameron, who had never walked until this point, began taking his first steps. Denise said: "He must have been five when we got him his first trike, he used to fall asleep on this thing. I swear it got his legs moving because he loved it so much.

"He wasn't walking, he was still in nappies and still on meds, but we got him on his first trike and because he was strapped into it his bad leg had to move. I am adamant that it got him walking.

"But then things went downhill with his dad. We got a divorce. Things had been tough, I opened my own flower shop - it was a dream - we had been eating beans for months so we could fund it, it was a really hard time - we ended up getting divorced."

After the divorce things went downhill for Denise and her family, they stopped going out which meant Cameron stopped using his legs and subsequently his walking abilities dwindled.

Denise with her son Cameron and Benjamin
Denise with her son Cameron and Benjamin -Credit:Denise Hunter

The mum-of-three at the time met a new man and moved to Southport, where she had baby number four - Cameron's younger brother, Benjamin. Denise said: "We settled here [in Southport] and he got his second trike, we had his legs moving again and things were good. We could do everything on this trike, it helped us as a family.

"But then everything stopped. My partner left and said he wanted his own space. I don't think he could cope with it. It threw me off the rails because I loved him so much. I just couldn't shift the depression, I thought my life had ended and sadly that played into the kids. I didn't cope well.

"Everything stopped for the kids, we stopped going out on his trike, I couldn't get my act together. I went through a horrid time, it was beyond depression. I didn't want to be anywhere, I couldn't get the kids to activities because of the baby and Cameron's needs. I couldn't go to a play areas or walk round places, like castles. There was no holidays for us because I couldn't cope with Cameron by myself and running around with little ones. Its been a struggle. My other kids have missed out massively because I struggled."

Things have finally got better for Denise, she says she has "never been in a better place," and wants to be able to take her children out again, but sadly Cameron is too big for his trike now and needs a new one. Unfortunately, due to financial problems Denise can't afford a new trike for her son.

She said: "Because he is 16 he is classed as an adult now so we aren't given funding towards it. We are struggling because we need a stair lift for him as well. He has broken his collarbone twice now from falling down the stairs and his leg on a bouncy castle. He is very delicate. I have to stand with him constantly.

"The trike makes it so much easier for us as a family to be able to get about and do things. It plays a huge role in Cameron's life. My youngest is nine now and he can ride a bike so they can go out together and it means we could go out a lot more. He is heavily reliant on the trike.

"I want to give him the chance to have this, it would mean everything to him and me."

Because of where the family live in Southport, they are very close to the beach, the trike would enable family days out to be much easier. Denise added: "The last ten years have been horrific, we have been stuck in every way. And, it's lonely when it is just me and the kids. I don't socialise a lot so when we get the trike it means we can all go out and it will benefit us all.

"We are so happy now as a family me and the kids, it would just mean we can do so much more together. Cameron can't do much at the moment because he can't go far, he gets tired easily. He is such a lovely boy, he has no animosity, no bad bone in his body, he is just cute."

You can donate to the GoFundMe page for Cameron here.

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