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Charlie-Marie needs your help to enable her to use essential medical splints while also being able to integrate with her family and get around out of the house in safety.

Eighteen-year-old Charlie-Marie French from Droitwich, has Cerebral Palsy as a result of being born prematurely, is visually impaired with no verbal speech and has no independent mobility.

Charlie-Marie has recently undergone spinal surgery combined with selective dorsal rhizotomy, an operation used to improve spasticity (muscle stiffness), to optimise the benefits Charlie has dynamic leg splints. Her present wheelchair does not allow her to use the splints, she needs a specially adapted power assist wheelchair to be able to benefit from the recent surgery and allow her to mix with the family and get out to visit friends and relatives.

“The power assisted wheelchair will enable Charlie-Marie to use her leg splints and sit with her family,” explained mum Ruth. “She has to do stretching exercises and at present can only do them in bed.

“After her major surgery the new wheelchair is paramount to her health needs so she can get the benefits of surgery. She needs to use splints as much as possible.”

Ruth turned to leading charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children to help with the much needed equipment for Charlie-Marie. Wheelchair Services will be contributing £650 towards the purchase and Newlife are appealing to the people of Worcestershire to raise the remaining £5,747.

Right now Charlie-Marie is one of five under-19s in Worcestershire who need your help with equipment valued at £9,816. You can help Newlife help more children and teenagers like Charlie-Marie.

Newlife has helped 150 families in Worcestershire through equipment grants and loans totalling £264,237, so we know there is a very real county need.

That’s why Newlife – the largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness in the UK – recently launched the Newlife Worcestershire Fund – It is an opportunity for local people to help local disabled children and every penny donated or fundraised in Worcestershire is guaranteed to support families in the county.

In this way we aim to help more children, more quickly.

Special disability equipment including wheelchairs, walkers, beds, seating and communication aids can help give children independence, keep them safe, relieve pain and overcome challenges. For instance, you could help a child be discharged from hospital, take their first steps or kick a football with their friends. . . .

Together we can really change the lives of children with disabilities and terminal illness – supporting them to experience and enjoy life and all that we take for granted.

Statutory services in Worcestershire often have a responsibility to make equipment provision – but when help is declined, Newlife steps in. The charity challenges many such decisions and has an impressive success rate. However, where we are unable to overturn these decisions, we provide the equipment ourselves through our range of grant and loan services. We do this with the support of front-line health professionals across Worcestershire who have helped Newlife help local children in real need.

The Newlife Worcestershire Fund will support equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.

Vitally, the Worcestershire Fund website – – will enable local people to find out who needs help in the county right now and highlight the support the charity gives vulnerable families. It includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – telephone number 01543 431 444 or email – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families.

That might involve taking part in a local sporting challenge, give you information on how to organise a fundraising event – or even ask you to donate £5 today! Volunteers are also needed to help raise awareness of what we do and how we do it.

Newlife Foundation supports families in Worcestershire through a range of free services: Nurse-staffed helpline Equipment grants Emergency equipment loans Sensory and developmental toy ‘pod’ loans.

The aim of the Newlife Worcestershire Fund, is to ensure children with disabilities or terminal illness in the county will not have to go without the equipment they need for everyday life.

Any monies collected surplus to requirements for Charlie-Marie would be used to provide specialist equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in Worcestershire.

Pictured: Charlie-Marie