By Emma Wootton
A doting eight-year-old has undergone specialist training to care for her disabled best friend and the pair – who were both born premature – are now inseparable.
The two girls, who were both born at 25 weeks premature, forged a special connection after Christy, eight, was able to communicate with her friend Ami-Grace, 10, through sign language, and their relationship has gone from strength to strength.
The pair were both taught sign language by their parents when they were babies as their parents both feared their premature birth meant they would be deaf.
But now their special skill is what has helped them to forge an amazing friendship.
Before meeting Christy two years ago, Ami-Grace struggled to make friends as she couldn’t communicate due to a range of complex medical conditions.
But Christy – who had learnt sign language from an early age – has since gone on to become PEG trained, so she can feed Ami-Grace, and is epilepsy aware.
The pair, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, are rarely seen without one another despite Ami-Grace having a range of issues from epilepsy to muscle weakness.
Their parents, Grace King, 33 and Alee Bampton, 25, who met through mutual friends, have captured their daughters adventures through their very own blog.
Christy’s mum, Alee, said: “Both of our girls were born prematurely, so I thought it would be a good idea for my daughter Christy to make friends with Ami-Grace.
“After spending some time together, we saw that they had built up a really strong friendship.
“I know Ami-Grace really struggles to make friends due to her disability, but she is so comfortable with Christy.
“I really believe spending time with Christy makes her happy, and they both have a special little connection.
“They do everything together, from shopping, going on tractor rides, and playing dress up.
“Watching them together melts our hearts, they are inseparable and if Christy isn’t with Ami-Grace, she’s asking where she is.
“I made sure that Christy was taught sign language from 18 months old as doctors weren’t sure how she would develop, and she now uses that to interact with Ami-Grace.
“She’s epilepsy aware and PEG trained which means she can feed Ami-Grace.
“Christy has even said that when she grows up that she wants to be Ami-Grace’s personal assistant.”
The mum’s decided to start the blog The Adventures of Kid and Cub after witnessing the adorable ways their girls communicated with one another.
Ami-Grace who is unable to talk due to her range of disabilities is able to communicate through Christy using sign language.
Grace, Ami-Grace’s mum, said: “It’s adorable to see two young kids who have been through so much able to put their differences aside to form a wonderful friendship with one another.
“We hope it will inspire others to not treat people with disabilities differently, they’re the same as you and me and everyone needs a best friend in their life to perk them up.”
Even though the girls were born with only 30 gram weight difference between them, their health differs greatly.
Ami-Grace was stricken with a range of disabilities, including Branchio Oto Renal Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the kidneys, ears, and neck and can result in hearing loss.
Grace was told her daughter had just a 10 per cent chance of survival and 10 years on, every day is still a fighting battle.
Grace said: “Ami-Grace cannot eat, speak, and she struggles to make sense of the world around her.
“She learnt to walk aged seven, and can now take steps independently with constant supervision.
“She needs help with every aspect of my life, and I do everything for her.
“Christy loves to help Ami-Grace in any way she can – Ami-Grace is visually impaired so she can’t see anything further than a meter in detail, so Christy will happily bring things closer.
“Ami-Grace can’t hear properly, so Christy will turn the volume up, and she even uses sign language to communicate with her.
“It sounds bleak but in reality, Ami-Grace is very happy and she’s an amazing little girl, whose life has been enriched by her best friend.”
Christy has no disabilities due to being premature but loves spending all her time with Ami-Grace.
When they’re not at their separate schools, the girls are often spending their time with one another.
Alee added: “It was touch and go with Christy when she was born, but thankfully she has grown to be a very healthy and happy young girl.
“She’s even told me that she wants to grow up to be Ami-Grace’s personal assistant, as she loves nothing more than to look after her and spend time with her.
“Watching them together is really emotional for both me and Grace, as we’re so overjoyed that they’ve found each other.
“I’m so proud of my little girl – she’s PEG trained and epilepsy aware at the age of eight which is such an achievement.
“I hope that both of the girls go on to have happy and fulfilled lives, and continue to show people that the only disability that limits you is ignorance.”