Ten disabled and terminally ill children across Northern Ireland are receiving vital specialist equipment – thanks to the generosity of leading County Antrim clothing supplier N M Williams Ltd.
Company director Mark Bradley is an enthusiastic supporter of UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation and has recently donated £14,000 to fund:
Four specialist car seats (two in County Antrim, one each in County Londonderry and County Tyrone)
Two disability cot-beds (both in County Down)
One specialist seat (County Down)
One disability buggy (County Armagh)
One sleep system (County Antrim)
Sensory equipment (County Fermanagh)
N M Williams has previously donated £25,000 to Newlife Foundation, helping to provide equipment for a further 21 children across the Six Provinces.
Mr Bradley told Newlife: “I cannot imagine the hardship these children suffer, or the pressures that their disabilities place upon their parents. The staff and management at N M Williams are pleased to be able to support such a worthwhile charity.”
Newlife Fundraising Manager Nora Smith added: “This is fantastic news for Newlife, but more importantly for the families of the children we are currently working with across Northern Ireland. I can’t thank Mark and N M Williams enough for their continued support.”
One of the children to benefit is 16-year-old Megan Fitzpatrick from Ballygowan in County Down. Megan has no formal diagnosis for her neurodevelopmental disorder, which presents with severe learning and physical disabilities.
Dad Jim Fitzpatrick said: “Megan is a real wriggler and she likes to throw her arms and legs around. Unfortunately, in her previous bed this meant she ended up bruising herself a lot. Newlife has now provided us with a specialist bigger, padded bed and Megan loves it. She is not able to talk, but when we put her to bed there is a huge smile on her face because she has room to move around without hurting herself.”
Jim added: “She loves to lie and relax on the bed – it has become a bit of a chill-out space for her.”
In addition, the equipment – which cost £4,196 – is height adjustable, making it easier for her parents to look after her.
All Newlife services can be accessed through its Nurse Helpline – freephone 0800 902 0095 – which offers information and practical support on a wide range of children’s disability issues. Nurses are available five days a week to talk to families about any concerns they may have. There is also an instant messenger-style online Live Nurse Chat facility available 24 hours a day; or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson is concerned that many more disabled and terminally ill children across Northern Ireland are missing out on the opportunity to access the charity’s services, which are all free, because their families are unaware of the resources available. Karen and her nursing team are urging parents and carers to give them a call.
Karen added: “We know that provision in the early stages of a child’s illness is very important and can often make a long-term difference. With this in mind we urge families and professionals to contact us when a need arises rather than as a last resort.”
Newlife is currently working with the families of a further eight disabled children in Northern Ireland (six in County Antrim and one each in County Tyrone and County Fermanagh) with equipment needs totaling £17,953. Newlife is able to guarantee that 100 per cent of any donation goes directly towards providing specialist equipment for children in need. This is possible because the charity operates its own trading company, which exists purely to support the aims of Newlife Foundation and covers all administration costs. If you think you can help support children in Northern Ireland, 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: Megan Fitzpatrick.