An autistic four-year-old from Devon is much happier now he has a special buggy of his own to get into for comfort whenever he finds the world around him too overwhelming and distressing.
The Blight family from Plymouth were walking Ricky-Lee to his school, Millford Special Education School in Ernsettle, but although he can manage short distances on tip-toe, he often falls over. He also has no sense of danger and will wander off or drop to the floor and refuse to move if he feels overwhelmed.
Because of his autism Ricky-Lee has a strict routine and doesn’t like busy environments, so he doesn’t engage in many social activities although he does like visiting relatives.
He had limited access to a special buggy for school transfers and really found it a comfort to be able to get away from everything going on around him. It was teachers at the school who urged Ricky Lee’s mum Stacie to get in touch with Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charity funder of children’s specialist disability equipment, so he could have a buggy of his own.
Mum Stacie said: “When Ricky-Lee doesn’t like being somewhere he will hide. He used to get under his blanket in his buggy and he used to eat his lunch in there at school.
“His buggy from Newlife has been really helpful, Ricky-Lee loves it and he’s so comfortable in it. He’s asking for it to come out of the cupboard all the time now whether we are going out or not. It’s so easy to push so we can go out now without it being a struggle.
“You can see Ricky-Lee feels much safer. He’s able to control himself better when he’s in the buggy. We are really thankful for the help, it was so quick and I can see Ricky-Lee is so much happier.”
Newlife has provided the £239 buggy thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of St Mary’s Coffee Shop and Charity which is supporting Devon based appeal Sam’s Legacy.
In October last year, Newlife – together with the Allen family – launched Sam’s Legacy in memory of brave teenager Sam Allen who had lost his four year battle with cancer in the summer. Sam’s Legacy aims to help raise the £40,000 needed by Newlife each year to support children with disabilities and terminal illness in Devon.
Since then, Sam’s Legacy has helped provide a total of seven pieces of equipment for children in the county – including specialist buggies for Ricky-Lee, a young girl from the Cullompton area and a six-year-old boy from Torquay.
Newlife Foundation Head of Operations Stephen Morgan said: “Statutory services’ budgets all around the UK are being tightened, which means that without the support of organisations like Newlife Foundation many children will simply go without the specialist equipment they need to transform their daily lives.
“With applications to Newlife Foundation at an all-time high – 25 per cent up on last year – the charity is increasingly looking to ‘local heroes’ to help fund life-changing equipment for children in their own areas. The support of local fundraisers in Devon for Sam’s Legacy is making a huge impact on the lives of local children with disabilities or terminal illness in the county.”
For more information about ‘Sam’s Legacy’, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/sam. Alternatively, you can call the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines).
To find out more about the range of equipment grant and loan support services offered by the charity, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.