Settling down to watch your favourite film is one of life’s simple pleasures – little Theo Oakley loves nothing more. But rather than relaxing in a comfortable chair, the six-year-old from Southampton, has to sit in his wheelchair – it’s the only safe seating he has – and it’s anything but comfortable.
Theo has Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Asthma, Global Developmental Delay, learning difficulties and needs 24 hour postural support to prevent Scoliosis – his mum, Aloysia, has to keep a constant eye on him as he is unable to let her know when he needs something.
Until recently, the only other option was for Theo to lie on the sofa, but this was neither safe nor practical and put him at risk of falling. What Theo really needs is a special seat which will not only keep him comfortable and supported, it will allow his mum to move him around the home so she can keep an eye on him at all times.
“Theo is a real people person,” Aloysia says. “He loves company so it will be fantastic to be able to take him into other rooms with me rather than leave him in his wheelchair while I try and get things done round the house. He loves watching movies, but as he’s vision and hearing impaired we have to move his wheelchair close to the television so he can see. It would be wonderful if he had a more comfortable place to sit – it would make a huge difference to him.”
The seat that Theo needs costs over £1000, so his parents turned to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential paediatric equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness.
In Hampshire alone, Newlife has already provided in excess of £540, 000 of disability equipment – including beds, wheelchairs, seating and sensory aids – for 346 children.
However the demand is still high and Newlife is currently working with 13 children in the county who need equipment totalling £16,900 – which is why Newlife has a dedicated Hampshire Fund – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire – giving local people the chance to help disabled children like Theo, and every penny donated or fundraised in Hampshire is guaranteed to support families in the county. The Newlife Hampshire Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Newlife guarantees that 100 percent of the money donated or fundraised for Theo will go towards funding his special seat and any surplus funds raised will go towards helping a disabled or terminally ill child within the Hampshire area.
Further information about the Newlife Hampshire Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to help Theo – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire or emailing [email protected] Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462777.
Pictured: Theo Oakley