Maya enters the Perkins Great Eastern Fun Run for charity Shine

Maya overcomes the odds and enters the Perkins Great Eastern Fun Run for charity Shine 

A local family is preparing to take part in the Perkins Great Eastern Run fun run, which will take place on 12 October 2014, in order to raise funds for the charity Shine.

Fay Dovey and Aaron Ratcliffe, from Tonge Moor and Smithills respectively, are taking their two-year-old daughter Maya on the fun run, together with their son, Max, who is aged just one.

Described by her parents as the most happy, smiley, and clever little girl they know, Maya has defied doctors ever since her birth. Maya was born five weeks premature at the Royal Bolton Hospital with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and rushed to Manchester Children’s Hospital. In the first three months following her birth she had five operations and contracted meningitis, which left her fighting for her life. 

Fay Dovey said: ‘We went for my 20 week scan in June 2011, anticipating finding out if we needed to buy little blue or little pink socks. Instead we heard the words spina bifida and hydrocephalus for the first time. At 35 weeks, I was booked in for an emergency c-section and we were told to expect the worse – that Maya was unlikely to survive the birth, and if she did, we would have very little precious time with our daughter. We had planned her funeral.’

Despite this, and many more trips to the hospital to help her with her epilepsy, Maya has overcome every hurdle. Her family hope that she will have her first self-propelling wheelchair for the fun run, enabling her to do some of the hard work for herself. Maya might even be able to wheel herself – or even walk – over the finish line this year, which will also mark the start of her birthday celebrations, as she turns three on the same day. 

‘Maya is the most independent, strong-minded little lady I know. She is so determined to do everything she puts her mind to. Nothing is going to stop Maya achieving her dreams,’ said Fay.

Now living in Whittlesey in Peterborough, Maya and her parents took part in last year’s fun run and raised £690 for Shine. This year, they want to raise even more, ‘Without Shine, we would not have our family. Shine have been there since day one of Maya’s diagnosis, and the support, information, and advice at every step of the way has been second to none. Without this, we would not have thought our son Max would be possible.’

Fay is appealing for more people to come forward and run for Shine, ‘Shine is a part of our family and we want to say a great big “thank you” to everyone at Shine for all they do. We hope the money we raise helps Shine to help other families and individuals just like us who need their help.’

If runners would like to join Maya and her family in supporting Shine in the Perkins Great Eastern Run, please contact Shine’s Fundraising Officer, Shelley Green, at or you can make a donation at

Notes to editors:
  • For more information please contact our Fundraising and Communications Officer, Amber Stokes, on T: 01733 421353 or E:
  • Shine provides services via specialist professionals throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Shine provides a vibrant presence and a strong voice for the community of around 75,000 individuals in the UK who either have these conditions, or who provide support, care and specialist services.
  • Hydrocephalus affects 1 in 1,000 babies born in the UK, often resulting from prematurity where the vulnerable infant brain is subject to bleeds and internal damage which can lead to hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can also occur at any time in life following illness or injury. Once an often fatal condition, hydrocephalus is now treated with a shunt, a surgically fitted device in the brain which drains away excess fluid.
  • Spina bifida is a Neural Tube Defect (NTD). It is the most commonly occurring serious birth defect that is compatible with life. As the baby’s neural tube (developing spinal cord) is forming a fault occurs which means it is left ‘open’. This occurs before day 28 of pregnancy which means it is essential that women take folic acid (which protects against such defects) ideally three months before conception, up until the 12th week of pregnancy.

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Our mailing address is:
Shine, 42 Park Road, Peterborough, PE1 2UQ.