A Gloucester three-year-old with a chromosomal condition which means he isn’t able to walk or talk urgently needs a specialist car seat so he can travel in safety and comfort.
Little Korban Wattam has been using a standard car seat, but he is outgrowing this and it doesn’t offer him the type of support his weak and floppy muscles need to be comfortable and safe.
Without a car seat with a turntable base it is also difficult for his parents Heidi and Adam to safely transfer him in and out of the family car – but a specialist car seat would improve life for them all.
Korban, who also shares his Matson home with his sister’s Ashleigh-May 7, Chloe 21 and brother Josh, aged 18, was just four weeks old when he was diagnosed with Cri du Chat Syndrome. Although Heidi and Adam had been told he may be at high risk of Downs Syndrome early in the pregnancy, all further tests revealed no problems.
Mum Heidi said it was only much later, on in the day he was born, that things didn’t seem to be quite right. Further tests revealed Korban had a chromosome defect known as 5P- which would affect his physical and mental development as he grew.
“Korban can’t talk or walk, but he does roll – really fast – and manages to get about in his own way,” said Heidi. “He’s a real character and always happy and smiling and over the last six months his social skills have begun to improve too.
“We have been able to use a car seat with a swivel base which made a huge difference as we were able to get Korban into the car seat easily without having to twist and manoeuvre him into place, which hurt my shoulder and neck so much, but this car seat is too small for him now too.
As there is no statutory services funding available for car seats, the Wattam family contacted Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Although the specialist car seat Korban needs costs £1,916, the Cri du Chat Syndrome charity and the Barnwood Trust have raised £1,000 leaving just £916 to fund.
Mum Heidi said: “Korban has low muscle tone so he will flop to one side, especially when he is tired, but this car seat would give him lots of extra support. The five point harness would hold his core steady, so even if he is asleep he will be upright and this will help to improve his posture.
“The harness will also stop Korban removing his arms from the straps – which he does in his current car seat – but as he has no awareness of danger he doesn’t understand that he shouldn’t do that.
“The car seat would be suitable for him until around the age of 12, which is important as he will always have issues with low muscle tone and always need to be safe, supported and comfortable when he travels in the car. The car seat will also give me and Adam peace of mind. At the moment when I drive anywhere I have to keep checking that he is ok which makes me nervous and if I do need to put his arms back I have to pull over, which all takes time.
If you think you could help Korban, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/gloucestershire and click on the Donate button next to his story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected] Newlife has previously provided £163,092 of specialist equipment for 133 disabled and terminally ill children in Gloucestershire. The charity guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Gloucestershire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the area. Any money raised above what is needed to help Korban will be used to support other children in the county as he is one of six children with equipment needs of £11,108 in Gloucestershire.
Pictured: Korban Wattam