Creating a haven for my daughter Nicola

A Holytown mum wants to create a sensory garden for her disabled daughter who lost her sight last year.

Nicola lost her sight last year
Nicola lost her sight last year

Nicola was born 10 weeks and five days early at Bellshill Maternity Hospital and suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Her mum Michelle Murphy said: “Doctors believed she would have severe brain damage and tube fed for the rest of her life, but she passed all the milestones.

“She has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, scoliosis of the spine, is doubly incontinent, wheelchair bound and only has the use of one hand, but apart from all that she is the most amazing, beautiful young lady. She feeds herself, drinks on her own, is very intelligent and talks for Britain – at least until last May.

“Nicola’s shunt got blocked and she needed a operation to change the valve which unfortunately resulted in her losing her sight.

“She is not coping with it after 21 years of been able to see, now she sees nothing except light and some colours.

“She can’t see my face anymore and its heartbreaking. It’s like a death and I’m mourning. I try to stay strong for her, but it’s hard and she picks up on every emotion.

“Nicola’s been suffering headaches, panic attacks and is on an anti-depressant, her appetite is gone and she gets very upset.

“She does go to her groups a few times a week, but the hours have been cut and it is very hard to find things to do when we are in the house.

“She has no use of her power chair now and just sits at her table in the living room tearing up Argos books and putting them in a bag, which is no kind of life.

“The only upside is at least she has Alexa and her Amazon Echo, which are a godsend that keeps her going because she loves music.”

Michelle is now aiming to create a sensory garden out her back door to give her daughter a safe space which would interact with her other senses.

She said: “I started emailing companies last November asking if they would be able to donate anything towards the build.

“Most of them did not reply back, but Keyline Motherwell have donated all the ground materials and my landscaper Danny Cairns is donating his services for free.

“I am truly grateful to them and hopefully the build will start soon, and once the groundwork is done I’d love to get a brightly painted fence that Nicola can make out and plants that are tactile and have smells to raise her spirits.

“Since losing her sight all her other senses have become heightened. She is always asking me about noises long before I can hear them, and I would love the garden to become Nicola’s haven where she can still use her chair without the fear of bumping into things and feel safe.”