Bear's 29k charity journey

A 29,000 mile round-the-world journey by a humble teddy bear has helped raise funds for a Suffolk girl with cerebral palsy.

Laurence Cawley

A 29,000 mile round-the-world journey by a humble teddy bear has helped raise funds for a Suffolk girl with cerebral palsy.

So far, “Bear” has generated nearly �2,000 for five-year-old Katie Peploe, which will go towards a �10,000 appeal for a sensory and therapy room at her family home in Great Cornard.

Katie's mother Charmaine said the room would help with the youngster's development by offering stimulation.


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She said: “Our fundraising campaign is a little different than the usual, because it involves a bear travelling around the world with all its adventures published on its own website.

“We are a long way off our target but with the level of support we are receiving from near and far, I am feeling positive we can get Katie her sensory room one day.”

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Mrs Peploe said the idea behind the travelling bear came from Katie herself, because she had always been deeply attached to a purple bear bought for her when she was a baby.

Bear started his journey in September with a trip to France, before heading off to Italy, Brighton, California, Paris, the Caribbean and Turkey.

In the New Year, he will be heading off to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Florida, and further journeys will be booked up by holidaymakers willing to make a donation in return for taking Bear with them on their travels.

Mrs Peploe said Bear still has space in his 2009 diary and was very willing to join people on holidays, trips out or activities ranging from marathons to skydives.

Katie was born at 38 weeks after an uncomplicated pregnancy. But it was immediately apparent there were problems because Katie was a very floppy and sleepy newborn, with little desire to feed.

Her weight fell from a healthy 6lb 8oz to just 5lb within a few days and Katie was readmitted to the Special Care Baby Unit.

She was kept in hospital for a month but no diagnosis was made at that stage. She continued to see specialists until, last year, she was diagnosed with extra pyramidal cerebral palsy.

Katie is completely dependent on others for her care and she cannot talk, crawl, walk or sit. Neither can she feed herself and still drinks from a bottle.

She has recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and is currently recovering from major hip surgery.

Despite her ordeal, Katie enjoys music, stories and tapping her tambourine, and she adores her younger twin siblings who, in return, fetch her toys and books when she is upset.

Parents from St Joseph's Primary in Cornard will be performing in a charity pantomime at the Prospect Theatre in Great Cornard on February 7. Katie will be the guest of honour and money raised by ticket sales will go towards the fundraising effort.

Anybody wishing to donate to Mrs Peploe's fundraising should visit Bear's website at http://www.beararoundtheworld.com/

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