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A simple piece of specialist equipment is all that stands between the Jackson family and fun days out together.

Fifteen-year-old Akira has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, hip dislocation and curvature of the spine. He needs to be hoisted for all transfers in and out of his wheelchair, which means the Jacksons – from Broadstone – can never go out for more than three or four hours at a time because they have to get Akira back home, where they have a ceiling track hoist, so he can use the toilet.

Dad Matt Jackson said: “I have a couple of slipped discs from carrying Akira over the years and my wife, who is about to have a baby, just isn’t strong enough to safely lift Akira. His condition means we have to be very careful when we are handling him, so a hoist is the only safe solution – for everyone.

“We need a portable hoist to take out and about with us, so we can all go out together as a family for more than a few short hours. Not only will it give Akira an improved quality of life, but will make a real difference to our other children too. Nobody thinks about the effects these limitations have on them.”

Akira has a two-year-old sister and two step siblings who visit regularly.

Local statutory services have provided the ceiling track hoist for the family in their Dorset home so are unable to offer a portable alternative as well. This prompted Matt to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has funded 71 Equipment Grants totalling £112,639 for disabled and terminally ill children in Dorset.

But as statutory cuts continue, Newlife is seeing a surge in demand for its range of equipment provision services.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “Last year (2013/14), Newlife awarded 33 per cent more Equipment Grants than the previous 12 month period – a total of £2,088,105. So we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to donate or fundraise to help disabled children in their own counties. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Dorset will be used to provide specialist equipment for children in Dorset. That could be anything from a specialist wheelchair, bed or seating to a stair climber, standing or walking frame.”

If you would like to help fund the portable hoist for Akira and his family, the Newlife Community Fundraising team can be contacted on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines) or by emailing Any monies donated or fundraised surplus to requirements for Akira will be used to provide equipment for another child in the county. For more information about Newlife Foundation, go to All support services can be accessed via the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines) or email

Pictured: Akira Jackson