Thanks to specialist comfortable seating known as a PPod, three-year-old Rian Nolan can really feel like part of the family when they are all relaxing – and his little sister gets the chance to play with him properly.
The family from Surbiton in Surrey turned to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help as the only other seating options they had for little Rian were his wheelchair or an upright functional chair. This meant he was seated at a different level to the rest of the family, which made it difficult for his two-year-old sister, Lauren, to reach him – and neither piece of equipment allowed him to fully relax in comfort.
Rian has brittle bone disease and is unable to stand, talk, walk or move on his own. He has a curve to his back and so needs postural support and also requires help with sitting and changing his position. He also has seizures and very weak muscles.
Newlife provided the PPod with support from James Vickers, former Mayor of Elmbridge Borough, which includes Surbiton. Councillor Vickers is an ambassador for Newlife Foundation and his year in Mayoral office saw him raise almost £90,000 for the charity – specifically to help local families – and his support continues in his current role as Master of The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers.
Mum, Jenny Nolan, said: “Rian is like a newborn. He can’t sit in a chair or a normal buggy as he needs supportive equipment. We tried beanbags but they don’t hold him up properly and he just slides down towards the bottom.”
Newlife has now provided the specialist seating, at a cost of £620, so Rian can get the support his body needs to be really comfortable and relax when watching TV with his family. It also means Lauren can play with him – enhancing the quality of their relationship.
Jenny said: “The PPod has had a really big impact – it’s exactly what we needed. We really missed having a chair he could sit in to be a part of the family. He’s already different and he could feel left out when we were all sitting together.
Jenny added: “I don’t know how we’d survive without the help of Newlife, it’s wonderful to have this option and to know that local people have helped to fundraise is fantastic.”
Increased demands on the charity’s resources mean Newlife is appealing to ‘local heroes’ to come forward to donate or fundraise to help disabled and terminally ill children in their areas. Newlife is currently working with another six families in Surrey, with equipment needs totalling £9,381.
The charity guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Surrey can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county. If you think you could help, 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.
Pictured: Rian Nolan