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APPEAL TO HELP EIGHT-YEAR-OLD AUSTIN IS INUNDATED WITH SUPPORT

Dumfries donors have rallied to support an appeal to give eight-year-old Austin Keddie, from Lochfoot, the mobile hoist he needs so he can safely continue with a home therapy programme to ease muscle pain.

His mum, Carolyn Keddie, said: “The response has been amazing. We have had envelopes of money put through our letterbox – one gift of £200 was anonymous. Our family would like to thank each and every person who has donated – it means so much to us and will make such a big difference to Austin.”

A county-based foundation trust has stepped forward to pay the outstanding balance of the £1,945 hoist.

Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children issued an appeal for ‘local heroes’ to help provide the equipment for Austin, who has Cerebral Palsy affecting all four limbs. Newlife Head of Community Fundraising and Appeals Nora Smith said: “We certainly found our ‘local heroes’ in Dumfries and Galloway; there’s a great community spirit.”

Carolyn explained: “We have a spa therapy tub which Austin uses to relax his muscles; it helps manage his condition. This is particularly important during holiday-time when he can’t access the school hydrotherapy pool. The swimming pool in Dumfries has been closed for a long time and none of the other pools in the area are warm enough.”

Austin is currently manually lifted in and out of the tub, but this is becoming harder for the family and more dangerous for Austin as he gets bigger. “He’s very slippery when he’s wet and we were becoming more and more concerned about dropping him,” said Carolyn, “which is why we asked Newlife for help.”

Having a portable hoist will also help the family go on holiday. Carolyn added: “Austin has a twin sister, Amber; it is becoming increasingly difficult to take them both away together because of the lack of on-site disability equipment. Having our own hoist, that we can take with us, will be a huge bonus.”

Newlife – the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – has previously supported Austin through equipment provision, which is why the Keddies turned, once again, to the charity for help.

To find out more about how Newlife supports local families, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/dumfriesandgalloway. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected] – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.

Pictured: Austin Keddie

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