A specialist buggy is essential for five-year-old Alyssia Rudd’s daily life. Unfortunately, there is no statutory funding available for a buggy of her own so she is currently being supported with equipment on loan from her Sheringham school.
Alyssia, from Coltishall, has lissencephaly; she has poor muscle tone and no independent mobility and suffers with seizures on a daily basis.
Mum Josephine Rudd said: “Alyssia originally had a standard pushchair, but she used to slide down in it and it didn’t give her the postural support the occupational therapists (OTs) say she needs. We were lucky enough that her school – Woodfields – offered to lend us a specialist buggy, but Alyssia has outgrown this as well now.”
The buggy that best meets Alyssia’s needs costs £2,272, which prompted her parents to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help with funding. The family has offered £100 towards the equipment and statutory services has pledged a further £500, leaving Newlife to fund the balance.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “Equipment ‘enables’. It can mean the difference between comfort and pain, engagement or isolation, freedom or a worsening condition. Therefore, our equipment grants are vital to so many children, offering practical support to families. Equipment can range from beds and buggies – like this one for Alyssia – to specialist seating and communication aids. Equipment costing from hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can revolutionise a child’s life.”
Josephine said: “As soon as we step out of our front door, we need the buggy for Alyssia – it will mean she is safely strapped in from all angles, it will help keep her head upright and position her legs to she sits appropriately. Alyssia spends a lot of her day in a buggy, both at home and school and it is vital for her journeys to school. Her OTs are on the ball in promoting good posture, which will help offset problems in the future, and it was Alyssia’s OTs who recommended we apply to the charity.”
Newlife has provided £104,488 of specialist equipment for 83 children in Norfolk. But the charity is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 81 per cent. This is an average of 300 calls a week, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website https://newlifecharity.co.uk
“Because of the huge demand,” said Sheila, “we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund equipment in Norfolk. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to support disabled children in the county.”
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.
Any money raised in excess of Alyssia’s needs will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in Norfolk. Newlife is currently working with eight families in the county, with equipment needs – for items including a specialist bed and car seat, manual and powered wheelchairs and sensory aids – totalling £26,663.
Pictured: Alyssia Rudd