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Little Clara Champion from Farnborough has Downs Syndrome and difficulties sleeping. She wakes up to six times a night and her parents and twin are exhausted from caring for her. She urgently needs a specialist bed to keep her safe.

Five-year-old Clara has no concept of danger. As a direct result of her disability she is soothed by the action of banging her head, but doesn’t realise that she could seriously hurt herself. Mum Vanessa said: “Clara hits her head so hard that she rattles the pipes in the house and leaves painful carpet burns on her face.”

Vanessa and Clara’s dad, Simon, listen out for her waking up and go to her as soon as they can, but the exhausted pair fear what Clara could do if they don’t get to her in time.

To keep Clara safe through the night she needs a specialist bed with high, soft sides – but this costs £5,146. As this is beyond the family budget her worried parents turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. It has already raised £1,715, towards the safety bed for Clara but needs a further £3,431 to fully fund the equipment.

“Clara is inquisitive and fun loving and always on the go. The movement of head-banging actually soothes her. When she was in a cot we could make sure it was padded so that she didn’t hurt herself, but now she is bigger she can get out of her bed whenever she has the urge to head bang.

 “We need to know that Clara is safe at night. As well as putting her at risk, Simon and I and Clara’s twin, Florence, aren’t able to sleep properly. It has an impact on all of us and means we constantly feel dreadful, like we have jet lag.

“Having a specialist bed for Clara would mean that she can’t hurt herself and we would also have the peace of mind we need to settle back to sleep without constantly listening out for her.”

Right now, Newlife has 21 disabled and terminally ill children in Hampshire in need of specialist equipment and must raise £39,659 to help them. Newlife has already supported 494 children across Hampshire.

Newlife’s Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan says: “We really want to help change the lives of these children and their families, so we are calling on local individuals, groups, clubs and companies to get involved and support them too. If you think you could help by donating or fundraising, please visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire.  Alternatively, contact Suzie or a member of the team on 01543 462777 or email local@newlifecharity.co.uk.

Any funds raised above what is needed for Clara will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in Hampshire.

Stephen added: “Without this help, many will sadly go without, as we simply don’t have the funds to support every child who needs our help.  This is heart-breaking but we know local people do want to help local children in need, hence our appeal.”

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