When four-year-old Amy Brown was born she had no heartbeat! For eight agonising minutes, Amy battled for life while her mum lay unconscious from anaesthetic and her father was alone in a room unsure whether his partner or child had survived. When Amy’s heart began to beat, she was moved onto a ventilator – but those eight minutes without oxygen would have a lasting impact on her future. Amy suffered a brain injury known as Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy that meant for the first three days of her life, she relied on machines to keep her alive.
Amy, who lives with her mum and dad, in Stockport, has a type of Cerebral Palsy that effects all four of her limbs and causes her to make constant involuntary movements. The tone of her muscles can fluctuate from one extreme to the other – either being very tight and rigid, or loose and floppy. She also suffers from regular seizures and needs to be fed through a tube.
Mum Ceri-Ann said: “Amy’s condition means she is really prone to regular chest infections which need to be treated in hospital. When she comes out of hospital, all I want is for her to be able to relax comfortably – to recover and recuperate in front of her favourite film or television programme, just like other children – it makes me feel so sad because this just isn’t possible for her.”
Despite Amy’s complex medical needs the local health service won’t fund
‘non-essential’ equipment so, desperate for Amy to be able to recover in comfort, her family turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help to fund the £1,849 specialist seat.
The Charity is now appealing to the people of Manchester to help raise the money so Amy has a safe and restful place to recover that will also enable her to spend more quality time with her family.
Ceri-Ann continues: “Amy can’t lie on the sofa, the nature of her condition means she can fall on the floor in a matter of seconds.
“The only place she can stretch out is on the floor but this isn’t comfortable or safe. She needs to be slightly raised to reduce the risk of the recurring chest infections and her involuntary movements means she constantly hits the furniture around her.
“What she really needs is a specialist seat called a P Pod. It’s like a beanbag, allowing her to stretch out in comfort and has a padded harness so she can’t fall out. It’s also on a wheeled base so she’s be able to move from room to room.”
Stephen Morgan, Newlife’s Head of Charity Operations, said: “There are now 1.1 million disabled children in the UK, a 15 per cent rise on the previous year. Policy decisions like this one combined with budget cuts to the health service mean more families are having to turn to charities like Newlife for help.
“Having a specialist chair like a P Pod will reduce the number of recurring chest infections Amy suffers – surely that makes it essential, which is why we’re trying to raise the money to provide her with this life-changing equipment.”