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Seven-year-old Patrick Conyard from Christchurch in Dorset has complex disabilities and has just had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. When he is at home he has to sit in a bean bag for comfort, but this doesn’t adequately support his hips and spine or keep him secure.

He desperately needs specialist seating – but local statutory services don’t have the necessary £2,699 funding. So Patrick’s parents turned for help to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation; which in turn is hoping local donors and fundraisers can support its urgent appeal.

Patrick’s mum Gemma Conyard said: “He has outgrown his previous comfortable seating and as he has grown his needs have changed so that he now needs very specialist support. Patrick is developing a hip problem and this seating will help prevent surgery.

“He has a functional chair at home for meal times, but since he has recently had a feeding tube fitted he will need to spend more time in a relaxed position and at the moment the only thing we have is a beanbag. It is pretty much the only option if we want him in the lounge with the rest of the family.

“Patrick has an eight-month-old sister and it is all I can do to stop her from climbing all over him. A specialist seat will get him further off the floor and reduce the risk of her dislodging his feeding tube.”

Patrick has Cerebral Palsy, Idiopathetic Encephalopathy and severe Global Developmental Delay. He has seizures which are not well controlled, despite medication. He needs 24-hour postural support for his hips – and Newlife previously provided a sleep system for him to keep his legs appropriately positioned when he is in bed.

Gemma added: “Having the proper seating to meet Patrick’s health needs will improve his quality of life and mean one less worry for us.”

Newlife Foundation has funded 70 Equipment Grants in Dorset, totalling £100,692, since 2005. The charity’s CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As cutbacks continue to bite into local authority budgets we can expect to see applications for Newlife equipment services continue to 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 Dorset can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county.”

If you would like to donate or raise money to help fund the specialist seating for Patrick, 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 monies collected surplus to requirements for Patrick would be used to provide specialist equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in Dorset.

Pictured: Patrick Conyard 

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