Sixteen-year-old Lauren Innes, from Glenrothes, is celebrating being able to stand up whenever she wants to – thanks to delivery of a new hi-tech wheelchair. At last, she’ll have uninterrupted views at music concerts!
The hi-tech equipment will enable Lauren, who has Cerebral Palsy and a condition that affects brain development, to stand up at every opportunity to strengthen her muscles, keep her hips aligned and maintain her digestive and respiratory health. Until now, this has meant using a bulky hoist to transfer her from her existing wheelchair to a standing frame at school. But the new hi-tech wheelchair will do the job of all three pieces of equipment – and she won’t just be restricted to doing her physiotherapy at school.
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children launched an appeal for ‘local heroes’ to help fund the £16,586 piece of equipment. With the donation of more than £14,000 by fashion retailer River Island and a contribution of £2,162 from the Innes family, Lauren now has her wheelchair.
Mum Jacqueline Innes said: “Lauren is so excited – she is talking to us about all the things she wants to do – like be able to get into the sweet cupboard and get a good view of the stage when she goes to concerts. She has been a fan of Irish singer Dominic Kirwan since her grandma took her to see him when she was four years old and has been to lots of his concerts. But she also likes Take That, Little Mix and Olly Murs. She is also looking forward to being taller than her mum!”
Jacqueline added: “Lauren had become increasingly frustrated by being restricted to a sitting position for most of the day; the process of transferring her from the wheelchair and into a standing frame and then back again means a lot of time away from her lessons at school. With the new hi-tech wheelchair she will be able to stand up whenever and wherever she wants – and for lessons like home economics it will be a big plus. She can also stand at home when she is helping in the kitchen – which will be essential physiotherapy without Lauren having to even think about it.”
The River Island funding comes through its UK-wide ‘fantastic plastic’ initiative – donating the profits from the sale of every five pence carrier bag in every store to Newlife, which uses the money to provide a range of specialist equipment. To date, this initiative has resulted in more than £500,000 of equipment.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has helped 95 families in Fife. To find out more about how Newlife supports local children, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/fife. Right now, the charity is working with a further two local families, with equipment needs totalling £11,778. You can help by donating through the website or, alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team on 01543 462777 or email email@example.com.
Pictured: Lauren Innes