When little Livia Bray was born six weeks premature she was so tiny she had to be fed through a tube.
Her parents, James and Alanah, went through a terrifying first few weeks where they were unable to take their baby girl home.
But eventually, she was allowed to leave hospital and appeared to be a healthy and happy baby girl.
It was only as the months went on that it became clear that Livia wasn’t meeting the same milestones as her friends.
Livia’s parents had formed a close bond with other parents they met through NCT classes in Exeter and almost every week, the six of them would meet up.
As each of the other children started crawling, Livia never did. She could only get around by rolling.
One by one, the other youngsters started to walk. Livia found her feet, but would never be out of reach of a wall, refusing to take even one step with a walker.
Just before her second birthday, her worried parents took her to see a physiotherapist and after six weeks, the heartbreaking news came that Livia had brain damage – resulting in a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia.
Now aged four, Livia, has to undergo daily physio exercises, wears leg splints, a second skin and uses a wheelchair.
But her friends have decided they’re not going to stand by and accept the fact that she can’t play with them.
And so, those five best friends from NCT class – all aged four – are taking on the biggest challenge of their lives to buy Livia a trike so she can come out and play with them.
Nikki Beazley, mum of Isla, who is one of the children taking part in the challenge, said: “We started out as an NCT group and the children have become the closest of friends, meeting up most weeks.
“Livia is the most incredibly funny, caring, strong and resilient little girl who would love to be whizzing around with her friends on a scooter or a bike but she can’t.
“Not because she doesn’t have the will or determination, but because a trike that’s accessible for Liv costs a huge amount of money. This, on top of all the other financial pressures that her therapy demands is just not possible.
“So, Livi’s friends want to complete a challenge to help buy a trike so that she can join them on their adventures.
“We are hoping people get behind them and show them at such an early age how working as a team and supporting each other can achieve big things.”
The five four-year-olds – Isla, Ollie, Penelope, Benji and Aiden – are relaying legs totalling over 20 miles by walking, scooting and biking to raise £2,000 for a trike for their friend.
Livia’s parents, James and Alanah, who live in Seaton, said: “Livia is a very outgoing and active girl. Her everyday wish is to run like her friends.
“This trike will give her some new freedoms away from holding our hands!
“We are so touched by the love and kindness of this group of friends. We have known them since attending NCT classes with them, so they have been over every hurdle with us, from premature birth, Livia missing milestones, the diagnosis at 2 years old, and every bump in the road since, as well as all the joyous times that they seem to feel just as much as we do.
“When they approached us with this offer to try to raise the funds, we were so taken aback and touched. We aren’t ones to ask for money for Livia, even though we know she greatly benefits from such equipment.
“But they could see the benefits, and just stepped up to help. We’ll never be able to thank them enough for their kindness. Livia said that it makes her want to cry happy tears.”
The kids will be holding their event on Sunday July 19. To sponsor them and help fund Livia’s new trike, go to the JustGiving page.