A safe place to sleep at night is all a Glenrothes couple want for their four-year-old daughter who was born with a brain abnormality.
As a result of her condition, called Dysgenesis of the Corpus Collosum, Jessica Lessells has tight rigid muscles in her legs and arms while those in her trunk are loose and floppy. This means she can only walk short distances with the help of a walker and will crawl and bunny hop around the house. As she experiences painful spasms in her legs she has difficulty sleeping and will wake several times a night, but she can’t be left unsupervised as she has no awareness of danger and severe learning difficulties.
Jessica’s mum, Karen, currently has to sleep in Jessica’s room as it’s not safe for her to be left alone to sleep in a standard bed. A specialist bed would make a huge difference to the whole family, allowing Jessica to be safe through the night with mum returning to her own room. It would also mean mum, along with dad Mark, and brothers Jake aged 18 and 13-year-old Joshua will be able to get a better night’s sleep with fewer disturbances.
The Lessells family have pledged £1,000 toward the cost of the bed and Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has a further £1,709 towards this vital piece of equipment, which costs £6,128. Now Newlife is looking for ‘local heroes’ who can help us find the remaining £3,419 to make this happen.
Mum Karen said: “In a standard bed she would roll out and get her arms and legs stuck in parts of the bed and be unable to free herself. She would also bang her head on the wall. For a while she was sleeping on a mattress on the floor to keep her safe, but lifting her up and down several times a night caused back problems for me, so now I sleep in a bed next to Jessica.
“We don’t get a lot of sleep as her leg spasms and stiffness will wake her around four times a night and each time it will take around 30 minutes to get her back to sleep again. Sometimes Jessica wakes everyone up and it can be very disruptive, especially if she is crying.
“The special bed she needs would not only keep her safe from falling out, it has tent-like fabric sides to stop her banging her head and a high-low function so she could get into bed herself, but I could also lift her out without hurting my back.
“It would be a safe place for her to be which could be used in the daytime for her to have a nap, as well as at night. We would also be able to start an independent sleep routine, as the specialist has told us we can’t do that until she has the right bed.
“Having this special bed would make a big difference to all our lives.”
At Newlife we need donors and fundraisers who want to really make a difference, helping us transform Jessica’s everyday life. To find out how you can support Jessica, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/fife. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444 or email [email protected]
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Fife will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county. Any money raised surplus to requirements for Jessica will be used to help other local children.
Pictured: Jessica Lessells