An appeal featured on the front page of the Woking News and Mail has led to Newlife being inundated with donations to help 11-year-old Dylan Carter – and get him off his grandma’s living room floor.
Newlife now not only has the full funding for an Acheeva – a cross between a wheelchair, bed and therapy table – for Dylan, but has received additional donations of several hundreds of pounds which will help other children in Surrey get the support they need.
A Surrey businessman – who wants to remain anonymous – stepped forward on Friday to fund £4,865 (plus Gift Aid), with another 50-plus smaller donations all contributing to county funding.
Dylan lives with his grandmother Liz Barrett in Woking. She said: “I would like to say a huge thank you not only to the very special person who made the large donation, but also to everyone else who has responded so kindly to Dylan’s story. It is lovely to know that other disabled children in Surrey will now also benefit. I’d like to send everyone a big hug!
“Dylan always looks so much comfier and happier when he is using an Acheeva at school – he doesn’t get upset at all. Having this equipment at home will make a big difference to Dylan in terms of his comfort and happiness and will help me enormously in caring for him.”
Newlife Head of Operations Stephen Morgan said: “What an amazing response! We have already placed the order for Dylan’s equipment – and we will be allocating the additional funding to support other disabled and terminally ill children in Surrey.”
Dylan travels to school in his wheelchair, but when he gets there he is transferred into specialist equipment called an Acheeva to help keep him comfortable. Using this he can be easily moved into a variety of positions to ease his pain and help prevent pressure sores. He doesn’t tolerate his wheelchair for long, so by the time he has been in it for his journey home he is ready to come out again.
Dylan can’t control his movement, uses oxygen and has a tracheostomy to help him breathe and a tube into his stomach for nutrition, his sternum protrudes and he has curvature of the spine – so sitting him on the family sofa is out of the question as it wouldn’t offer him any postural support and he would be in danger of sliding or rolling off.
Liz explains: “Dylan has a mattress on the floor of the living room; he has spent the last 11 years there. But he is now around five feet tall and we are in danger of tripping over him and hurting him. It’s a huge health and safety issue and it’s time Dylan came off the floor and got the appropriate equipment so he can be comfortable and safe at a level where he can interact with what’s going on around him. He is quite a sociable boy, so he finds it very hard to be at floor level so much of the time. We lay down on the floor with him, but we are approaching our Sixties now so it’s not so easy.
“Getting the right equipment will not only keep him comfortable and safe but will help minimise the handling issues we currently have and prevent further health problems from developing.”
Pictured: Dylan Carter