An appeal has been launched to help keep local disabled boy Taylor Ager safe and give him an early birthday present. Taylor, aged 5, is from Stowmarket in Suffolk; he was born with a very rare genetic disorder, a duplication on Chromosome 1, which causes learning difficulties.
Taylor is what is known as ‘sensory seeking’. He has almost no understanding of danger and will instinctively run if he is startled. In the past Taylor has run into the road and straight to a stranger when he has been frightened. He can’t help this response – his disability means he simply doesn’t understand and can’t learn to avoid danger.
The Woodley Primary School pupil had a huge scare recently when he bolted through a gap in a fence and ended up on a construction site – narrowly avoiding a moving digger.
To keep Taylor safe, mum Caron desperately needs a specialist buggy to use when out and about. But statutory services won’t fund the £1,100 piece of equipment.
The cost has prompted the family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has already funded 44 Equipment Grants in Suffolk spending over £86,000.
Newlife has found funding of £500 towards the specialist buggy but is hoping local people can come forward to donate or fundraise the remaining £600 to help keep Taylor safe.
Caron said: “Taylor has sensory issues and if he hears a loud noise that he isn’t expecting he will just bolt. It could be anything – a motorbike, a police siren, just a loud bang. But if I’m not holding on then I’m in trouble because he’s off.
“Taylor’s little sister Helena is only two so you can imagine how hard it is to keep hold of one while chasing the other.
“A specialist buggy would be perfect and means instead of roping someone else to come out with me when my husband’s not around I will have more freedom to do things with Taylor and it will be so much safer.”
Caron said the incident with the digger shows how little Taylor understands danger. She said: “Taylor heard a loud noise and managed to get through a gap in a fence and ran right in front of a construction vehicle which almost hit him.
“He was totally unaware of what he had done and couldn’t understand why everyone was so upset with him.”
Caron added it would be great to be able to tell Taylor he is getting his buggy in time for his birthday on August 30.
“Having the buggy would make all the difference,” she said.
“Taylor gets very tired when he walks and I don’t drive so we walk a lot or are reliant on public transport. He really would love a buggy and it would give me reassurance and peace-of-mind to know he is always safe and I don’t have to chase after him.
“I just want him to be safe. No matter what is thrown at Taylor he is almost always smiling, nothing gets him down for long. He is an inspiration to us, and we are very proud.”
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As cutbacks continue to bite into local authority budgets we have seen applications for Newlife’s equipment grant and loan services rise.
“As a charity we are looking increasingly to ‘local heroes’ to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Suffolk can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county boundary.”
If you would like to raise money to help fund a buggy for Taylor, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640.
Any money raised surplus to requirements for Taylor will be used to specifically fund equipment for other disabled and terminally ill children in the county.
Pictured: Taylor Ager.