A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD from Bridgwater who suffers from a genetic condition declared a shop near Wellington that’s dedicated to all things Christmassy open last Saturday (November 17, 2018).
Tayen Gilbert, who suffers from Neurofibromatosis, cut the official ribbon at Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm in Langford Budville and launched its Christmas shop on Saturday, November 17.
Kali Gilbert, Tayen’s mum, explained: “We were thrilled that Tayen was selected to officially open Langford Lakes’ Christmas shop and Christmas tree farm. We had a fantastic morning. As a family we love Christmas, and this was a real treat for all of us.
“I decided to nominate Tayen as she’s a little star. Tayen has a complex medical history and her genetic condition causes tumours to grow along nerves anywhere in the body. She was diagnosed at 22-months-old with bilateral optic pathway gliomas (tumours) that have spread through her brain to the back. She started chemotherapy straight away but unfortunately lost all vision just six weeks into treatment.
“Following this Tayen needed bilateral shunts to drain fluid on her brain. She also has complex epilepsy and is currently now on her third round of chemotherapy treatment. None of this stops her though. Tayen is a powerhouse of fun and energy and captures the hearts of everyone she meets.”
The Gilbert family has fundraised for various charities over the years. They also visit Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) at Charlton Farm, which is Langford Lakes’ Charity of the Year.
Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm is hoping to collect as much money as possible for CHSW from the sale of mince pies and teas and coffees, aided by volunteers for the charity. The refreshments will be on offer until its last day of trading before Christmas on December 23. Last year it managed to raise £2,955 for the organisation.
Kali added: “CHSW has been a great lifeline of support and respite for my whole family. It is a fantastic charity and we’re delighted to hear that Langford Lakes will be fundraising for it again this year.”
CHSW is currently the only provider of specialist hospice care for children in the region. It offers much needed support for youngsters with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and their families at its three hospices: Charlton Farm in North Somerset, Little Bridge House in North Devon and Little Harbour in Cornwall.
Reg Hendy from Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm, which is based at Middle Hill Farm, said: “We were so pleased that Tayen could help us open our Christmas tree farm and shop for the festive season.
“She was our VIP for the morning and even got to meet Father Christmas and enjoy our snow machine. We also gave Tayen an early Christmas gift as a thank you. We are also inviting the Gilbert family back to choose one of our British grown Christmas trees free of charge. We hope Tayen and her family had a fantastic morning with us kicking off the countdown to Christmas.”
Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm is open every day until Sunday, December 23, 2018.