Dorset four-year-old Louis Norris and his family are now able to do many things others take for granted, like popping to the shops, attending appointments and going to the beach, thanks to a special buggy provided by Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.
Louis, from Bridport, was born with a chromosome abnormality so rare that not one other child in the world is known to have it – and it impacts on all aspects of his life. He has learning disabilities and doesn’t speak, instead he uses his eyes or whole body to point to what he wants. He also has weak and floppy muscles, with some hyper flexible joints and hip joints which are partially dislocated. As a result, he can pull himself up to stand, but can only take a few supported steps.
Although Louis has a supportive wheelchair, this is too big and heavy to be used for everywhere they want to go, and only just fits in the family’s large car. He was using a standard buggy to go out with mum Dinah, dad Matthew and 12-year-old brother Harry Stewart, but a growth spurt means it is now much too dangerous to use as he exceeds its weight limit and can tip it over.
As Louis has already had the wheelchair from his local statutory services, they won’t make any other provision, so his parents, Matthew and Dinah, contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children – the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness. Louis had received a special car seat from Newlife in January 2015 -and the charity was able to continue supporting the family by providing the £310 special buggy Louis needs.
Mum Dinah said: “His wheelchair is too big and heavy to go many places in and it doesn’t have any weather protection as they don’t provide this on the NHS – and at £260 it’s too expensive – but without it we can’t use it if it’s raining.
“With the special buggy we have much more freedom and flexibility. It means his grandparents can pick him up from school if I can’t and it’s great for just popping out to the shops or to see a friend. It means we can go to the beach again too as we can carry it across the sand.
“Having this to use instead of the wheelchair means we can do much more together as a family – it’s so easy to transport!”
Newlife has provided 114 children in the Dorset area with £138,295 worth of disability equipment. But more help is still needed with three families in the county still waiting for £1,050 of equipment. In response to this growing need, Newlife has established the dedicated Newlife Dorset Fund – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/dorset – giving local people to chance to help local disabled children like Louis, and every penny fundraised or donated in Dorset is guaranteed to support families in the county. The Newlife Dorset Fund supports equipment provision for under 19s facing any significant disability whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Newlife guarantees that 100 percent of the money fundraised or donated for Louis will go towards his powered wheelchair and any surplus funds will help fund equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in the Dorset area.
Further information about the Newlife Dorset Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to help Louis – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/dorset or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone donations can by calling 01543 462777.
Pictured: Louie Norris