Five-year-old Jack Phelps from Walton on Thames is severely autistic and hyperactive. Mum Samantha Kavanaugh says: “He is a gorgeous little boy but he lives his life at 100 miles an hour and it is incredibly difficult to get his attention.”
Jack’s developmental progress is slow, but Samantha says his ABA (applied behaviour analysis) therapist is “working miracles” with him, with the help of sensory equipment provided by leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation.
Samantha said: “Newlife has helped Jack twice. His health visitor originally recommended the charity to us a couple of years ago because she knew we desperately needed a specialist buggy but she couldn’t get one for us through the NHS. This buggy has proved to be indispensable and gives us so much more freedom – we have even made trips abroad which would not have been possible otherwise.
“More recently, we were guided back to Newlife for sensory toys, lights and vibrating equipment to use as a learning incentive. Toys specifically designed for disability needs are horribly expensive so the charity’s funding help is really important to Jack’s progress. We are extremely grateful for their help and expertise.”
Newlife is currently working with a further eight families in Surrey, with equipment needs totalling £7,884. Equipment provided by the charity ranges from wheelchairs and specialist beds to standing frames and communication aids. However, the demand for Newlife services has shot up during 2013 and the charity is appealing to ‘local heroes’ to come forward to fundraise or donate towards the cost of equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in the county.
For instance, Newlife supporters can choose to take on a sponsored sporting challenge, host a coffee morning or cake sale, make and sell handcrafted goods, organise a pub quiz or community car wash, hold a sponsored silence or stage an evening of entertainment.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children – and donors can ring-fence their money to specifically help families in Surrey.”
If you think you can help, 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: Jack Phelps.