Little Lydia Rankin could be facing spending most of her school summer holiday trapped at home in Pemberton, Wigan, sitting on her mum’s lap. The six-year-old has a rare chromosome disorder and she can’t sit unsupported. Her wheelchair is so uncomfortable that she can only tolerate it for half an hour before she cries out in pain – and local statutory services won’t give her specialist seating to use at home.
Which is why Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is calling on ‘local heroes’ to help fund specialist comfy seating called a P-Pod. Lydia’s mum Ruth Rankin said: “She has had a major growth spurt and her wheelchair doesn’t fit her body shape any more. If she is in her wheelchair too long she gets so uncomfortable that she is physically sick. It’s a long, drawn-out process going backwards and forwards to Wheelchair Services to get a review of her needs and I don’t feel we are getting anywhere at the moment. Lydia can’t be left on the settee on her own because she would fall off and hurt herself, so she currently sits for hours at a time on my lap with me supporting her head and body.
She added: “This is going to make everyday life especially difficult during the long school holidays.”
The P-Pod seat for Lydia will cost £2,170. If you think you could help free her from her pain, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/greatermanchester, click on Lydia’s story and donate now. Alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team on 01543 462777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lydia has the brain development condition Alobar holoprosencephaly which affects every aspect of her life. Having a P-Pod with a seat that is specially moulded to Lydia’s body would not only keep her comfortable but potentially help slow her deterioration.
Ruth added: “Newlife has been hugely supportive of Lydia and our family over a number of years, providing a special-needs bed and car seat to help us care for her. When statutory services told us, once again, that they couldn’t help Newlife was our only option.”
Any money raised over and above what is needed for Lydia will be used to provide specialist equipment for other disabled and terminally ill children in the Greater Manchester area. Newlife Head of Operations Stephen Morgan said: “Every penny you give will genuinely be used to change young lives.”
He added: “The UK has more disabled children than ever before and it’s an outrage that mums and dads have to battle local services for help and equipment – and yet still they face heart-breaking refusals. Newlife saves lives and changes lives every day in the UK. But we can’t do this alone.”
Pictured: Lydia Rankin