VIP session puts a big smile on Chelsea’s face

Brave Staffordshire youngster Chelsea Burley kept telling her family she wanted to go to Waterworld.

But the 13-year-old, who has already been through more than seven years of treatment for a brain tumour, had a stroke earlier last year which has restricted her strength and mobility.

Parents Matthew and Emma were worried that she might get rushed or pushed around on some rides in a public session – but the team at Waterworld were determined to find a solution.

They arranged for lifeguards to oversee a private early morning session for Chelsea at the Festival Park resort, which meant she was able to spend time on some of her favourite rides before the park opened to the public, accompanied by her parents and younger sister Skye.

Dad Matthew said: “Chelsea has absolutely loved it – it’s put a big smile on her face, which has been fantastic to see. We really appreciate what Waterworld has done for us.

“The stroke left Chelsea with big weaknesses in her left arm and hand, and although she is getting stronger, we were hesitant about bringing her along to a busy public session. So this was just perfect.”

Chelsea, from Meir, was just five years old in 2012 when she started suffering from severe headaches, vomiting and a tremor in her left arm.

When migraine medication failed to stop the symptoms, she was referred to hospital, where a CT scan showed a lump on her brain.

After many courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she rung her end of treatment bell after seven years. But she then suffered a bleed on the brain last January, causing her to have a stroke.

Kelly Mountford, Waterworld’s marketing manager, said: “Inclusion means a great deal to us, and helping people to create family memories is so important.

 

“We have all been touched and inspired by Chelsea’s determination, strength and courage, and wanted to find a way of giving her access to the park at a time when she would be able to go at her own pace.

 

“So we were delighted to be able to supervise an early morning private session for the family before it opened to the public. So many of our lifeguards wanted to help, and it was great to see her having so much fun.”

 

The Chelsea Burley Trust, which has now set up in her name, has helped fund much-needed research into brain tumours by supporting Alder Hey Children’s Hospital research department. It has also supported the local children’s oncology unit in Stoke.

 

Not only that, but the Trust has already raised enough to buy a static caravan at Presthaven in North Wales so that children on chemotherapy can have some much-needed respite.

 

Waterworld has agreed to donate two passes, each for a family of four, for the family to raffle or auction off as part of its ongoing fundraising for the Trust. For more on Chelsea’s story and to support her cause, please click here.