A group of strangers have helped a teenage girl with special needs to feel like a princess.
They replied to an online plea for help to get seventeen-year-old Hayley Quick to a debutante ball after she fell ill a few days before the event and was too weak to walk down the isle.
The plea went viral within hours and Hayley’s mum Melanie was inundated with fairy lights, fabric, flowers and a tiara so the wheelchair could be transformed into a fairy tale carriage.
Whey Hayley saw it at the ball her eyes lit up and she shed a tear.
“She felt like a princess in a carriage,” Mrs Quick said.
“She absolutely loved it, she shed quite a few tears because she’d made it there.
“Her face was priceless, she didn’t want to get out of her wheelchair at the end of the night and normally she doesn’t want to get in it.
“We are so overwhelmed by the community effort, their love and support, from people I don’t even know. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Hayley was born with polymicrogyria, a condition where the brain develops abnormally before birth.
She relies on her wheelchair to move around when she is too weak to walk.
Mrs Quick didn’t think Hayley would be able to go to the ball after her conditioned deteriorated and she ended up in John Hunter Hospital on oxygen and having seizures three days before the ball.
“Her breathing was compromised … It was serious, it was scary, she scared me,” she said.
“We weren’t even thinking of the ball, we were just scared for her.”
When her condition improved the day before the August 5 ball the doctor gave her a leave pass for a few hours so she could attend.
“I decided I wanted to make her wheelchair into a princess carriage,” Mrs Quick said.
“I put a little story out on some of the local buy, swap and sell pages, saying that our daughter was in hospital and if anyone could help make the wheelchair into the carriage.
“I was overwhelmed with the response, I had so many messages coming through from people wanting to help.
“People that I’ve never met organised to pick up stuff from other people who had donated it and dropped it off at my friend’s work.”
Mrs Quick’s friend and her husband made the carriage on Friday night and she put the finishing touches on it when she came home from the hospital.
“For Hayley the night was about wearing the pretty dress and the tiara,” Mrs Quick said.
“We planned for her dad to walk her down the isle and dance with her, but it didn’t happen like that because she wasn’t well enough.
“One of the partners of another girl came and asked her to dance so she got out of her chair for a little while for a dance, it was very emotional.
“We would do it again in a heartbeat if we could.”
Mrs Quick praised the ball organisers for holding the event.
“It’s fantastic, they should be able to do what everyone else does, and they have proved that they can,” she said.
“They all had a great time.”