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After mum Rachael Todd from Bromley Common found her young daughter hanging by her neck and gasping for air, she put out a call for help on a special needs page on Facebook. Just a few days later she had the specialist bed she needed to help keep little Ruby safe, thanks to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation.

Rachael’s four-year-old Ruby has a neuro-developmental delay and epilepsy; she is able to crawl and roll and can pull herself into a standing position but can’t walk. When Ruby outgrew her regular cot, Rachael instead put her to bed in a travel cot because she thought there was less chance of her falling out and hurting herself.

One night, Rachael woke up to hear Ruby gasping for breath – and found her hanging from the top of the travel cot. Rachael said: “She had pulled herself up and put her neck over the side then, presumably, lost her footing. She was just hanging there.”

Not knowing where to go for help, Rachael asked for suggestions through a special needs page on Facebook – and her plea was answered by Newlife Foundation, which has awarded 168 Equipment Grants totalling £253,630 for disabled and terminally ill children in Kent, and supported a further 22 families through equipment loans.

Rachael said: “Ruby doesn’t sleep much – she regularly wakes between 3am and 4am. Having this specialist bed gives me peace of mind, knowing that if I fall asleep she will be safe.”

Ruby’s equipment has been provided through Newlife’s Emergency Bed Loan service, which supports children sleeping in unsafe environments, those who have life-threatening conditions or are in need of additional support to leave hospital.

Beds are delivered direct to families’ homes on six-month loans, which gives Newlife time to work with local statutory services to explore avenues of public funding for long-term equipment or – if this is not successful – provide it through the Newlife Equipment Grant service.

Newlife now needs to find £5,928 to provide a permanent specialist bed just for Ruby – and is calling on ‘local heroes’ across Kent to donate or fundraise to help secure the equipment. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Kent will be used to provide specialist equipment for children in the county. Any money raised surplus to requirements for Ruby will be used to help other families in Kent.

The Newlife Community Fundraising team can be contacted on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines) or by emailing For more information about Newlife Foundation, go to

All support services can be accessed via the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free fromUK landlines) or email

Pictured: Ruby Joslin-Smith