Grant helps Malki find her feet

By Jessica Elgot, October 26, 2010
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Swing time: Malki Gertner’s life was changed thanks to Children in Need

Swing time: Malki Gertner’s life was changed thanks to Children in Need

A strictly Orthodox family have spoken of how a BBC Children in Need grant helped their wheelchair-bound daughter learn to ride a bike.

Malki Gertner, nine, from Hackney also learns swimming and horse-riding with the charity Step-by-Step.

The charity was given a grant of £120,570 over three years to help fund after-school sports for 121 disabled children in the area, aged five to 19.

Malki's mother, Francesca, said the charity was a "life-saver" for her and husband Shloime, a popular Charedi singer, who has released an album with a track entitled Malki's Song.

Mrs Gertner said: "When she was born, the doctors said she was badly brain-damaged, she might not be able to see, speak or hear. And I looked at him and I thought, 'I will prove you wrong.'

"She is in a wheelchair and she is blind but activities are making her stronger and happier. Last week she even pedalled along on a bike. It's unbelievable because she can't walk. "

"It's given me so much faith in the kindness of the community. The volunteers call me and say, 'I saw Malki swimming, she is so cute, can I take her out for an hour?'

"Every Sunday one of the girls will volunteer to come and take her out to the park, or go shopping."

    Last updated: 3:09pm, October 26 2010