Harold Wood youngster making a splash for First Step
PUBLISHED: 12:56 10 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:56 10 December 2015
A 10-year-old girl whose family were supported by First Step when she was a baby is taking on an endurance challenge to thank the charity.
Harold Wood Primary School pupil Rose Deavin hopes to make a splash when she steps into the pool at Central Park Leisure Centre for a 5,000m swim.
The youngster has been inspired by First Step’s dedicated staff, who helped her family after she was born prematurely and her twin brother was stillborn.
Rose’s proud mum Emma, 45, of Harold Wood, said: “We were at the First Step Christmas bazaar recently, which we go to every year, and Rose said, ‘It would be nice mummy if I could do something’.
“Rose is a strong swimmer, she goes to Romford Town Swimming Club four or five times a week, so we decided to do a sponsored swim.
“It does seem rather a long way, but we wanted to do something quite challenging.”
Rose does not remember her time at First Step, Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch, as she was just a baby, but for her family, the memories remain fresh.
Emma said: “Rose was a premature baby born at 29 weeks and she was a surviving twin – her brother was stillborn the day before.
“She was in hospital I don’t know how many weeks. We were leaving her every night not knowing if she would be there in the morning.
“I very much struggled to bond with her at first because I was scared we were going to lose her.”
But once Rose was out of hospital, the family began attending First Step and its staff gave invaluable support and advice to Emma, her husband Gary, 49, and their other daughter Grace, 15.
“I struggled at the time, as we had lost Rose’s twin, but First Step were absolutely amazing.
“We wouldn’t have got through a horrible time without them.”
Rose developed chronic lung disease and swimming lessons were recommended by doctors.
“She’s been swimming longer than she’s been sitting up – when other children started walking she started sitting up,” said Emma.
“We just didn’t know how she was going to develop.
“You wouldn’t believe it looking at her now – she’s come out of this totally unscathed and is a bright, crazy 10-year-old.”
Sponsorship for Rose’s challenge in January has started rolling in and she hopes to complete the swim, at the leisure centre in Gooshays Drive, Harold Hill, in three hours.
But the youngster’s aspirations do not stop there.
“Her ambition is to be an Olympic swimmer,” said Emma.
“She’s got big goals – she wants to get more gold medals than Michael Phelps!”
To sponsor Rose, visit justgiving.com/R-Deavin1.