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Swanley family's garden transformation by WellChild charity helping to make Christmas memories


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A garden transformation means a little girl will be able to play with her sister and make Christmas memories outside together.

Maddison Graver suffered a stroke when she was a baby leaving 90% of the right side of her brain dead.

Maddison in her new garden. Picture: Kerry Graver
Maddison in her new garden. Picture: Kerry Graver

Due to her stroke, the seven-year-old has severe, drug resistant epilepsy and can have up to 50 seizures a day, is partially sighted in both eyes and is paralysed on her left side.

Mum Kerry feared what could happen if her daughter was to have a fall due to her medical condition especially when in their garden which was mainly concrete.

But that has now changed after the Gravers received a garden overhaul by children’s charity WellChild.

Kerry said: “To see her out there with the lights and everything, it is making memories that we would not have been able to make. It means a lot to have it.

“It is absolutely wonderful. Since they have done the garden the girls have been able to play football and Maddison has been able to get involved.

Maddison and Amelia can now play together safely. Picture: Kerry Graver
Maddison and Amelia can now play together safely. Picture: Kerry Graver
Maddison in her old garden. Picture: Kerry Graver
Maddison in her old garden. Picture: Kerry Graver

“They are able to interact with each other which they have not been able to do for such a long time.”

The old garden meant it was hard for the family to enjoy time outside without worrying and for sisters - Maddison and Amelia, 11 - to play safely.

The 41-year-old mum added: “It is now so safe. They can go out there and play and it is safe.

“She can go out and I do not need to worry.”

The garden was transformed by the charity, which supports the family, as part of its Helping Hands projects, with help from financial firm St James’ Place.

Instead of being on a slope they have levelled the ground out into three, flat sections with decking, artificial grass and included hand-rails and steps.

There are now three easily accessible levels. Picture: Kerry Graver
There are now three easily accessible levels. Picture: Kerry Graver
The Graver's new garden. Picture: Kerry Graver
The Graver's new garden. Picture: Kerry Graver
Maddison in her new garden. Picture: Kerry Graver
Maddison in her new garden. Picture: Kerry Graver

And the family, of Rowan Road, Swanley, have said it is extra special that it has happened this Christmas as Maddison faces major brain surgery in January to separate her right side of her brain from the left.

The 10-hour hemispherotomy surgery will hopefully help stop her epilepsy but there is a risk she could become weakened further.

Kerry said: “It is quite a massive surgery so just having the garden, it has been so nice to give her such a fantastic Christmas.

The Graver's new garden has been decorated for Christmas. Picture: Kerry Graver
The Graver's new garden has been decorated for Christmas. Picture: Kerry Graver

“It has been lovely to give her everything.”

After surgery Maddison will enter a lengthy rehab process and having the garden, Kerry explained, will help with her recovery as they can get her outside in the fresh air as opposed to having to stay in the living room.

She added: “It is making such a difference. I am so grateful for WellChild.

“It would not be something we are able to do.”

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