Flower power! – Family’s sunshine garden for brave Tilly

Tilly McDonough with her mum Michelle

Tilly McDonough with her mum Michelle

HOW’S this for flower power?

The family of brave disabled youngster Tilly McDonough brought some sunshine into her life with these impressive sunflowers.

Seven-year-old Tilly, who is one of only a handful of girls in the country battling a life-limiting muscle condition, asked for a flower garden this summer.

Her loving mum Michelle and big sister Kaitlin, nine, got to work planting all kinds of flowers, including these Russian giant sunflowers.

Michelle, 35, said: “Tilly wished for a flower garden this year so we made her one.

“Everything else has died off, but the sunflowers are still going strong with all of them over 9ft-tall and massive heads.

“We have 16 Russian giants, the tallest standing at a massive 11ft 3in closely followed by four at 10ft and the 11ft one is still growing.”

Michelle, married to Christopher, 45, got in touch with the Mail after we asked if readers could beat the efforts of 81-year-old Sybil Thompson whose nine feet sunflower we featured in Tuesday’s paper.

And no-one is happier with the results than Tilly, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Michelle, of Bruntoft Avenue, Hartlepool, added: “She is over the moon. She goes out every morning and looks at them.”

Tilly cannot walk far and uses a wheelchair as she quickly tires out because of her condition.

But she does not let it stop her having fun and is looking forward to joining the juniors at Barnard Grove Primary School in September.

Tilly, who celebrated her seventh birthday at the weekend, has taken steroids for around two years to help keep her heart and lungs as strong as possible.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy causes muscle degeneration and occurs in only one in 3,600 boys. It is even rarer in girls.

l The McDonoughs have laid down the sunflower gauntlet. Keep your pictures coming by sending them to us by emailing them to mail.jpress.co.uk.

You can also post pictures via our website www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and through the Mail’s Facebook page and Twitter account.




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