A simple piece of specialist equipment will open up a world of opportunities for one-year-old Finlay Montague.
Finlay, from Fareham in Hampshire, has a complex neurological condition that affects his mobility and causes developmental delay. He is fed through a gastrostomy tube in his stomach and experiences severe reflux, so sitting up reduces the risk of choking and makes him more comfortable.
Currently, his parents use a standard pushchair to get him out and about, but this doesn’t offer the appropriate support. Mum Nicola Montague said: “We use the car seat part of his pushchair because that keeps him in an upright position, but Finlay finds it uncomfortable and doesn’t like it – which means I normally end up carrying him.
“Through his occupational therapist he has now been assessed for a specialist buggy. This equipment will cost £3,459 – but local wheelchair services will not look at providing anything until Finlay is three years old. That’s a two-year wait and in the meantime we need help to make sure that Finlay has the chance to get out more and experience life as he should be able to.”
On the advice of the occupational therapist, Nicola contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. It has already supported 346 children in Hampshire with equipment totalling £540,893.
Nicola added: “Finlay is a very sociable little boy and loves to look at what’s going on around him. I was surprised by the cost of the specialist buggy but it has additional head and side padding – crucial as Finlay has little head and trunk control – along with underarm supports and a pommel to prevent him slipping down and a five-point harness to keep him safe. Maintaining good posture is important for his future development.”
With applications for help to fund equipment increasingly significantly in Hampshire, Newlife is calling on the support of ‘local heroes’.
If you would like to help Finlay, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire and click on the ‘Donate’ button beside his story. The website will also give more information about Newlife’s work in the county and how Finlay is just one of 13 children in Hampshire currently needing equipment totalling £16,750.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of the money donated to the Newlife Hampshire Fund will be used to provide equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county. The ‘Newlife guarantee’ is possible because the charity operates a successful recycling and retail business, the profits of which underwrite core costs, including administration. Any surplus funding will be used to help provide equipment for another child in Hampshire.
For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to: https://newlifecharity.co.uk
Pictured: Finlay Montague