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Three children in the Tyne and Wear area are in urgent need of specialist equipment; their families are working with leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation to help secure the aids, at a total cost of £6,438.

Newlife has provided £98,525 of specialist equipment for 51 children across Tyne and Wear. But the charity is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 70 per cent, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Because of the huge demand, we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund equipment. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to help disabled children in the area.”

Children like three-year-old Elijah Parsons, from Tyne and Wear, whose parents have applied to Newlife for a lightweight wheelchair.

Mum Jo said: “Elijah is a very able little boy, very interested in his own environment and in getting to know other children. But because he can’t walk – and his current wheelchair isn’t very manoeuvrable – he isn’t able to make those friends so easily. He is struggling to socialise and a lightweight wheelchair would make life so much easier and enjoyable for him and offer him a bit of independence.”

The wheelchair which best suits Elijah’s complex needs – he has Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele and Hydrocephalus – costs £2,488, which prompted his parents to apply to Newlife for an equipment grant.

Jo added: “Elijah is small for his age and the majority of wheelchairs are just too big and heavy for him. The lightweight model we are hoping for would be made specifically for Elijah and allow him scope for growth over the next three or four years.”

The wheelchair would help him socialise with other children at the playgroup that he attends four times a week and prepare him for entry into full-time education later this year.

Sheila Brown said: “Our equipment grants are so vital to so many children, offering practical support to families in need. Equipment can range from a pain-relieving bed to communication aids, from wheelchairs to portable hoists. Equipment that costs from hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can revolutionise a child’s life.”

If you think you can help Elijah and the other two children in the Tyne and Wear area, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

Pictured: Elijah Parsons.

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