A specialist piece of equipment will allow Somerset eight-year-old, Damian Fic, to walk on his own, allowing him to enjoy a level of independence he has only been able to have when he is at school.
Damian, who lives in Bristol, has a rare chromosome abnormality and has also had a liver transplant as a result of biliary atresia, a condition where the bile ducts in the liver are either blocked or missing. Damian relies on others for all aspects of his care as he is unable to walk unaided and does not speak, instead using facial expressions to make his needs known.
Having a walker of his own to use when he is at home and out with his family will not only allow Damian to be more independent but it will also help Damian’s organs to function as well as strengthening his legs and improving his bone density. However, with a walker costing £2, 538 and no statutory funding available, Damian’s family have been forced to turn to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children to see if it was able to help.
Newlife Foundation is the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Mum, Agnieszka, said: “Damian is a very cheerful boy – he has had a lot of medical treatments and operations, spending days at a time stuck in a hospital bed – but he always has a smile on his face. He loves to be outside and enjoys watching the other children playing in the playground – but until now he has only ever seen the world from one perspective – from a wheelchair. Having the walker would change that for Damian and open up possibilities he has never experienced before.
“We have already seen the positive impact the walker has had on Damian while he is at school – he looks so proud – and it would be great to be able to have this at home for him as well. As surgery isn’t an option for Damian, the walker will also help to slow down the process of his bones becoming twisted and his legs shortening.”
Agnieszka went on to say: “Very often we hear the doctors describe Damian’s condition as ‘life limiting’ – we don’t agree. Every life is limited and people don’t always remember that. Every day Damian shows us how to overcome weaknesses and that if you really want something, you can do it – as long as you have the right support.”
Newlife has provided 182 children in Somerset with £245, 657 worth of disability equipment. But more help is still needed with nine families in the county still in need of equipment totalling £7, 081.
In response to the local need, Newlife has established the dedicated Newlife Somerset Fund – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/somerset – giving local people the chance to help local disabled children like Damian, and every penny fundraised or donated in Somerset is guaranteed to support families in the county. The Newlife Somerset Fund supports equipment provision for under 19s facing any significant disability whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Newlife guarantees that 100 percent of the money fundraised or donated for Damian will go towards his walker and any surplus funds will help fund equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in the Somerset area.
Further information about the Newlife Somerset Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to help Damian – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/somerset or emailing email@example.com. Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462777.
Pictured: Damian Fic