A DETERMINED Wigan mum of a tiny miracle who was born weighing just 1lb is on a mission to make money for the charity close to her heart.
Toni Johnson of Orrell is continuing her quest to fund-raise for MedEquip4Kids, the charity which provided equipment which kept her newborn, Ella-Jo, alive when she was born 14 weeks premature.
Ella-Jo also made headlines as the smallest baby to be born at Wigan Infirmary in the past 35 years.
Now 30-year-old Toni is urging volunteers to come forward to take part in a sponsored walk, with a twist, from Southport Pier to Wigan Pier.
Participants will not only have to complete the tiresome trek, they are also being asked to do it in fancy dress.
She said: “Plans for the walk are going so well that it has got to the point that people are contacting me to ask if they can join in. But I would still love for as many people as possible to come and join us.
“One lady even called and said that her daughter, who is in a wheelchair, would love to come along which I think is just fantastic. I love that there is so much community spirit in the borough and everybody wants to help each other.
“I will make sure everybody is looked after and I have arranged for three stops on the journey for participants to have complimentary refreshments. Everybody will be watered and fed.
“We are also asking youngsters to join us on the last mile of the journey from Crooke Hall in Standish Lower Ground.”
Once born, Ella-Jo was transferred to the Royal Bolton Hospital for nine weeks before returning to Wigan.
In total she spent four months in hospital and needed specialised medical equipment as her tiny lungs kept collapsing.
Toni heard about MedEquip4Kids through her friends, the Caddick family, who along with other members of St Cuthbert’s Rugby Club in Norley Hall have been very active in fund-raising for the charity.
Toni added: “I know that the children’s unit at Wigan Infirmary are currently in need of a new travel incubator and a few other bits and pieces and I just want to help, in anyway I can, to help provide some of their equipment so that more babies can survive like Ella.”
Despite a lapse at the beginning of this year, Ella-Jo is doing much better - she still has chronic lung disease and relies on oxygen, but doctors believe she will gradually recover.
Overall, in terms of development she is ahead of her age.
Toni said: “She’s doing really well and picking up at the minute which is such a relief. Although Ella had tonsillitis three times in the last few weeks and will more than likely need her tonsils out at some point.
“But she’s my little fighter.”
The charity trek will take place on Saturday June 28. For more information and to join in with the walk contact Toni on 0779 121 3171.