Five-year-old Walsall boy Kenzy Jones needs a specialist bed for Christmas so he can sleep in safety.
Kenzy – whose twin sister has no health issues – was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of three; more recently he has experienced seizures and is being monitored for epilepsy. He currently sleeps in a standard cot but has no awareness of danger and injures himself on the sides, which he also climbs over – causing disruption in the bedroom he shares with his older brother who has Cerebral Palsy.
Specialist equipment – called a Safespace – would help keep Kenzy safe, but it costs £5,939 and parents Kyla and Kiy Jones have been told by health professionals that there is no statutory funding available.
Kyla Jones said: “Kenzy will not stay put in a normal cot or bed so one of us has to stay with him each evening until he gets to sleep so we know he is safe and not disturbing his brother. That usually takes three to four hours.
“Kenzy uses a Safespace play area at his school – Oakwood in Walsall Wood – so we know he is comforted by this sort of environment.”
Because the Safespace will make such a big difference to all their lives, Kyla and Kiy turned to locally-based national children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife Foundation is based in Cannock, Staffordshire, and recently announced it had hit the £10million landmark in terms of funding specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children around the UK.
However, statutory cutbacks across the country have led to a surge in applications to Newlife Foundation for vital equipment to facilitate everyday life – items like wheelchairs and walkers for mobility, communication aids to give children a voice, specialist car seats so they can travel in safety . . . and beds like this one for Kenzy.
Newlife is currently working with 15 families in the West Midlands, with equipment needs totalling £35,786. This surge in demand for services has prompted the charity to call for ‘local heroes’ to come forward to fundraise or donate towards the cost of specialist equipment for children in their county.
For instance, Newlife supporters can choose to take on a sponsored sporting challenge, host a coffee morning or cake sale, make and sell handcrafted goods, organise a pub quiz or community car wash, hold a sponsored silence or stage an evening of entertainment.
If you would like to help raise money to fund a Safespace for Kenzy, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance. Alternatively, go to: www.justgiving.com/Kenzy-Jones
Any money raised surplus to Kenzy’s requirements will be used to fund equipment for other children in the West Midlands.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children – and donors can ring-fence their money to a specific county.”
Pictured: Kenzy with his twin sister Kaidi-Leigh.