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A lightweight wheelchair has really boosted the confidence of six-year-old Neve Cain Wesson from Telford – and has opened up a world of new experiences for her.

Neve was born at just 23 weeks of pregnancy and as a result has Diplegic Cerebral Palsy which affects her legs, which have rigid, tense muscles and experience spasms. She uses a specialist walker to get around school and since moving to a bungalow with mum, Kerrie Cain, last year, she can now manage to get around her home without help. However, if she needs to walk more than a short distance she still needs a wheelchair.

The NHS funded wheelchair Neve had been using was too heavy and bulky for her to self-propel, or for her mum to easily manoeuvre, which was restricting where she could go. School trips and day trips with her mum or friends were too difficult and even popping to the local shops was hard for the pair. Kerrie knew a lightweight wheelchair would make life much easier, but the £4,109 cost was beyond the family budget. Kerrie applied to several charities for help and Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children stepped in to fund for the wheelchair which has made such a difference to their lives.

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

Kerrie said: “Neve was reluctant to go out in her old wheelchair, it was bulky and heavy and when she tried to self-propel her elbows would catch on the wheel, tearing her clothes and making her dirty.

“Neve actually likes being in this wheelchair. As it’s lighter she can self-propel which gives her more freedom and there’s a handle to help me move it too which makes life easier. It’s colourful and nice to look at, unlike the one she had before, which means she doesn’t feel so self-conscious in it. Several people have commented on how good it is and it’s given her independence and her confidence a real boost.”

Although Neve has only recently received the wheelchair, she and her mum are already making plans for days out and Neve would like to try some wheelchair sports which are now possible.
Neve is the latest of 194 children in Shropshire to be supported by Newlife with equipment needs of £160,243. Right now, Newlife is working with a further seven families in the county, with equipment needs totalling £6,325.

Newlife is currently receiving more applications for help than at any time in its 25-year history. Which is why public support is needed to support families caring for disabled and terminally ill children in Shropshire.

The charity operates its own successful recycling and retail business, working with leading manufacturers and high street retailers, to fund core equipment provision services – but statutory service budget cuts have left families increasingly reliant on charitable support.

With no-where else to turn, over the past five years there has been a 64 per cent increase in applications to Newlife

Newlife’s Consultant Nurse Karen Dobson said: “To meet current applications for vital specialist equipment, Newlife needs more than £8,000 a day – every day. With continued budget cuts in the statutory sector and an increasing number of children with disabilities, we are aware that without public support Newlife will not be able to assist all those families who look to us for essential help. While medical expertise continues to save children’s lives, we require help to support families’ daily equipment needs. Families like yours and mine.”

Pictured: Neve Cain Wesson