When Knowlsey NHS couldn’t give a one-year-old with brain cancer a specialist buggy, she faced missing out on life-saving Proton Beam Therapy abroad – until Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children came to the rescue.
Alisha Riley’s desperate parents Zoe and Carl, from Merseyside, couldn’t afford the specialist buggy themselves, so turned to Newlife who runs the only emergency loan service for children providing urgently needed, specialist equipment within hours.
Thanks to this unique service Alisha was able to undergo 30 Proton Beam Therapy session in Florida this summer, following a nine-hour surgery to remove a tumour on her brain at Alder Hey Hospital in May. Now, thanks to the treatment, Alisha has been given the all clear.
Mum Zoe said: “After the surgery Alisha’s doctors told us her tumour was cancerous, but radiation therapy in this country was too risky because of her age and the location of the tumour.
“Although the NHS funded the Proton Beam Therapy in the US they couldn’t give her the buggy quickly enough to enable her to go when time was really of the essence. They wouldn’t let us take the one she had been using in the hospital.
“Because of her condition Alisha can’t sit up or support her own head, so she needs a specialist buggy with extra head support and chest straps to keep her in a stable position. Without that to keep her safe we couldn’t go.”
Newlife’s unique emergency loan service provides specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children, including specialist buggies, bed and seating and aims to deliver the equipment within 72 hours.
The loan of the specialist buggy from Newlife meant Alisha had the extra support necessary to travel and undergo treatment.
Zoe added: “I just don’t know what we would have done without Newlife!”
“Now Alisha and her twin, Jack, are getting ready to celebrate their second birthday at the end of October.
“Life’s definitely not been easy and Alisha will have to have another scan in January, but we are over the moon.”
Carrick Brown, Newlife’s Senior Manager of the Care Services Department, said: “Being able to respond to emergency requests for equipment for children can literally save lives as shown here with Alisha. Emergency stores of equipment exist to meet the urgent needs of adults, but there’s no publicly run service for children – this needs to change.
“Last year in Merseyside Newlife provided 49 emergency equipment loans of equipment at a cost of £16,140. Without your support to continue this service we might not be able to help the next child in urgent need.”
To support Newlife’s Emergency Equipment Loan Service donate at www.newlife.support/GiveEEL or text ‘Loan10’ to 70070 to donate £10.