Five-year-old Filip Kowalewski has a rare form of epilepsy which has left him with absolutely no awareness of danger, so when he became able to unclip the seatbelt on his standard car seat it meant he didn’t have the support he needed to travel safely – particularly during a seizure when he could fall to the floor.
Filip, from Corby, experiences several different types of seizures and although medication has helped, he still experiences around five seizures each day. Afterwards this causes him to feel tired and lose his skills for a while.
Mum Gabriela said: “Because of his condition Filip isn’t able to understand that when he is in a car he shouldn’t open doors and windows or take his seat belt off to move around the car. Thankfully the child lock meant he couldn’t actually open the door, but he could still roll down the manual window. His seizures can be very quiet, so while driving I didn’t always know straight away that he was having one. It was very scary and if I had to go places it meant I always had to take someone with us to sit with him.”
In desperation Gabriela turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment for children with disabilities or terminal illness. The charity recognised the urgency of the situation and quickly provided the £599 specialist car seat with a five point harness to keep Filip safe.
Gabriela added: “Filip is now safe in his car seat and if he has a seizure he is supported and in one position, so I know he can’t hurt himself. Now I can safely pull over and help him as soon as I can. The car seat quickly made a really big difference and I’m really happy that Newlife was able to help us.”
Newlife Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan said: “It’s great we have been able to help Filip. However, right now, Newlife has another five disabled and terminally ill children in Northamptonshire in need of specialist equipment and must raise more than £5,682 to help them. Newlife has already supported 252 children across the county.
He added: “We really want to help change the lives of these children and their families, so we are calling on local individuals, groups, clubs and companies to get involved and support them too.”
- The equipment for Filip was funded through Newlife’s charity partnership with Central England Co-operative. Between 2012 and 2017 Central England Co-operative colleagues and customers raised a total of £1.5million for Newlife, every penny of which has been directly used to provide specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children across the retailer’s trading area.