Four-year-old Charlotte Reid could not wipe the smile off her face as she scooted around her school for the very first time yesterday.
Charlotte’s rare genetic disorder trichothidystrophy (TTD), means she is allergic to sunlight and just a small exposure can leave her blistered and in pain.
Charlotte also cannot sweat, even when she’s feeling hot from TTD, so she can only be in rooms with air conditioning.
Just 12 months ago her parents thought she would never attend school, but a trip to America to see a specialist led them down a new and happy path.
“It’s awesome, I've never had my scooter at school before,” Charlotte said.
A very excited Charlotte said her first day in the scooter at Orange's Bowen Public School, in central-west NSW, was very exciting.
“It’s easy to drive, mum and dad taught me,” she said.
Before she received the scooter, Charlotte was restricted to one or two rooms in the school that were air conditioned with tinted windows, but now she can go outside and take part in school activities.
Charlotte’s mother Sunny Reid said it was unbelievable to think her daughter was finally at school.
“A year ago we never thought we’d put her in school. She’s a very special little girl, very bright,” she said.
Charlotte has joined her older sisters Sarah, 9, and Emily, 12, at the school, much to their pleasure.
The scooter also means Charlotte can join in many everyday activities with her family.
“Charlotte has never been grocery shopping and has never been shoe shopping ... it’s always been too unsafe,” she said.
“She ends up in little pin prick blisters and we’re getting a lot of pain. Every bit of light makes her skin red. We just have to do the best we can, there’s no textbook for this.”
Mrs Reid said the staff at Bowen Public School had gone beyond expectations to get Charlotte to school, with window tinting and air conditioning installed in her classrooms.
“I don’t know what her future’s going to be but I'll sure as hell make sure it’s good,” Mrs Reid said.