A YOUNG woman with cerebral palsy is going the extra mile to support a charity that has helped her for 16 years.

Emily Riley, aged 21, was born with cerebral palsy — a permanent movement disorder causing poor coordination, stiff muscles, weakness and tremors.

She was told she would only be able to transfer from a wheelchair to a chair, and would not be able to weight-bear by the time she was a teenager.

But thanks to charity Stick 'n' Step, who has given Emily conductive education classes since she was four years old, she can walk with aids and even swim.

Now she is defying the odds by challenging herself to undertake 400 lengths of a swimming pool.

Emily, from Radcliffe, said: "This charity has had a massive impact on my life. It has helped me gain independence and confidence as well as mobility skills.

"Before attending Stick 'n' Step I was told I would only be able to transfer from a wheelchair to a chair and I wouldn’t be able to weight-bear by the time I was a teenager.

"Thanks to Stick 'n' Step I can do so much more. I can walk around the house using tripod sticks, go to the gym and yoga classes and of course swim."

The former Radcliffe Riverside High School pupil added: "I would like to say thanks to Stick 'n' Step by taking part in their fundraising initiative Swim400 to enable them to help other young people like myself."

Emily completed the first 100 lengths at Radcliffe Leisure Centre and completed her challenge while on holiday in Spain.

Mum Karen Riley, of Chapeltown Road, said: "It is a great feat. I'm really proud of her.

"She wanted to give something back."

Swim400 is a sponsored event that aims both to raise funds and also awareness of the fact that one in every 400 people in the UK has cerebral palsy.

Matt Meaney, Development Manager at Stick ‘n’ Step, said: "We’re so proud of Emily setting herself this challenge for herself and for Stick ‘n’ Step. She is raising much needed funds for the charity and keeping fit at the same time, which is fantastic.

"It costs £4,500 to cover the cost of just one child accessing our services for a year and we rely on support from the local community and hardworking fundraisers like Emily to keep our doors open. "We would like to say a big thank you to Emily for this amazing effort."

To donate to Emily's cause visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emily-riley3.

There is also a collection tin at Radcliffe Leisure Centre.