The aim of the TeiganSmile campaign is to raise money for Teigan’s physiotherapy and equipment, while also raise money to support other children with cerebral palsy. Rebecca and Tony are in the process of turning the campaign into a registered charity.
Teigan was born with no complications. At two weeks old, Tony and Rebecca noticed that she wasn’t waking up and was very lethargic. The couple took her to the hospital, and when they arrived, her body started to jerk, and she was rushed into intensive care.
It materialised that Teigan had contracted neonatal herpes, and was eventually diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, the result of meningitis, after being kissed on the lips at two weeks old.
“We nearly lost the little monkey twice,” said Rebecca. Teigan found it hard to swallow or take anything from a bottle, and doctors fitted her with a mic-key button so she could be fed straight to the stomach and take in more calories.
“It’s her smile that keeps us going,” Rebecca added, which gives the campaign its name, TeiganSmile. “She has everyone she meets wrapped around her little finger right away”.
The TeiganSmile campaign also aims also to raise awareness of what happened to Teigan, to prevent it happening to other babies. Rebecca said: “Newborns don't have a very strong immune system.
“We’re not just trying to raise awareness of the kissing on the lips. If someone kisses the baby on the hand or foot, this could also be an issue. This is because babies always like putting their hands or feet in their mouth, and that little of a trace be dangerous.”
Rebecca added that pubs could show support through having leaflets that raised awareness of the dangers of these situations.
Rebecca and Tony begun the campaign around ten years ago when Teigan was first diagnosed. Since then, they have raised about £7,000. Celebrities such as X Factor’s Sam Bailey and singer-songwriter Craig David have voiced support for the campaign.
Leaps and bounds
In the past, the campaign has run events including football matches and a festival in Barrow. More fundraiser football matches have been planned for July, as has another festival, which will have bands, stalls and bouncy castles.
According to Rebecca, Teigan had come on in “leaps and bounds” since the pair had started running the pub. “She makes social media posts and tags the pub in them, and she likes helping out: she’ll go round tables and give them cutlery, sauces and napkins in her wheelchair.
“She used to do posts in the morning, where she’d say ‘good morning everyone, I hope you have a lovely day’, and that sort of stuff. She knows how to make everyone giggle.” Teigan turned 11 last Friday, and celebrated with some friends and a massive TikTok cake.
As well as helping out at the pub, Teigan loves music, winding up her brothers and sisters, and is very sociable.
The goal is for Teigan to be the first child in the UK to wear a robotic walk-suit, which helps disabled children to walk.