Blackpool mum thanks supporters after raising £1,000 for spina bifida charity

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool mum whose baby has battled through life-threatening illness has thanked supporters who helped her raise £1,000 for a charity which supported the family.


Emma Cowley’s daughter Ava, who is 11 months old, was born with spina bifida but has also had to overcome a near fatal bout of meningitis, a burst cyst and hydrocephalus which caused temporary organ failure.

But through some of the toughest times Emma and husband Dan were helped by the little-known charity Shine, which supports those with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

After coming through so much trauma in her young life so far Ava, who needed treatment at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, has defied the odds and the family call her their little miracle and their ‘hydro warrior’.

Emma Cowley and baby Ava (right) with Jojo Cannon and daughter Lyla at the fun day on behalf of charity Shine

Emma Cowley and baby Ava (right) with Jojo Cannon and daughter Lyla at the fun day on behalf of charity Shine

When Emma, of Grizedale Road, Mereside, staged a family fun day at the Freedom Centre on Langdale Road, to raise funds and awareness for Shine, she was astounded by how much money the event raised.

She said: “My main aim was to raise awareness of the brilliant work Shine does, so that any other families in a similar situation can know where to go for help.

“I expected to raise around £200 and I thought that would at least help in some way.

“When it raised just over a thousand pounds, I couldn’t believe it.

“I’d just like to thank everyone who donated prizes, bought prizes and came along on the day.”

As well as the funds raised, her story in the Gazette caught the attention of families across the country who also have children with spina bifida.

Emma, a full-time carer, said one family contacted her from Kent and a mum from Manchester also got in touch to say she had taken encouragement from their hopeful message.

Emma added: “It was strange because when Ava had to go into hospital in Manchester again for a check-up, the mum who’d contacted me was there – and her daughter was in the bed next to Ava!

“It is good to reach out and share experiences and tell people about what help is out there, it can really make a difference.”

The family also includes older sister Ella, aged 12, and Reuben, aged two..

For more information on the charity Shine, visit: