A life-limited Hampshire one-year-old can now go out in safety, thanks to the ‘life changing’ emergency loan of a special buggy which gives him all the support he needs to minimise pain, help him breathe properly and has extra space for his vital life sustaining equipment.
Just popping out near their Totton home with one-year-old Finley Isherwood in a standard pushchair was difficult for parents Louisa and Michael as their son, now 20 months old, has a degenerative neuro developmental condition which has caused brain damage and his torso and head to be floppy – so if his head falls forward it could restrict his breathing.
Finley’s condition has also caused him to be registered blind as he can only see light and silhouettes. He needs to use hearing aids, is fed via a tube, has limited use of his arms and legs and needs oxygen, physiotherapy and sometimes nebulisers to breathe properly. He also needs extra help to clear his airways as he can’t do this on his own.
As a high street buggy has limited carry space it has always meant one parent had to carry the bulky medical equipment Finley needs with him at all times, while the other pushed his buggy. This really restricted life for mum, dad and Finley’s three-year-old brother Thomas, however Finley isn’t eligible for assessment from his local wheelchair services until the age of three.
In desperation, the family turned to Newlife Foundation – the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness. The charity provided a special buggy through their Emergency Loan Service which is parent facing so Finley can be kept really snug and safe while his parents monitor him at all times. There is also plenty of room for his vital equipment, so one parent can be on hand to carry Thomas if he gets tired while they are out, which they couldn’t do before.
Now Finley and his family can pop out whenever they want, attend appointments easily, take day trips and have even been on their first family holiday together – all of which helps them build precious memories.
“We don’t know how long we have with Finley so we try to make sure he is comfortable and has the best quality of life we can give him,” says mum Louisa.
“We have had the buggy for a few months now and it has made a huge difference. It has changed our lives. Having Finley in the buggy means we have peace of mind when we are out and it has made life so much more enjoyable for the whole family.”
“Finley is definitely more comfortable in his new buggy and because he is fully supported he is able to sit up and look around and be involved more. The first place we took Finley in the buggy was to Peppa Pig Land for Thomas’s third birthday,” said Louisa. “We were also able to go on a Center Parks holiday this year which was just amazing, especially as we are aware Thomas doesn’t have a normal childhood.”
She added: “I don’t know where we would be without the buggy now.”
Newlife runs the UK’s only ‘emergency services’ which provides equipment to children who are in very urgent need of equipment – if they are in danger, unsafe, at risk of injury, suffering needless pain or just can’t wait due to their prognosis. Often delivering essential equipment within 72 hours across the UK.
In response to the growing need in Hampshire, earlier this year the charity launched its Newlife Hampshire Fund. The fund’s website – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire – enables local people to find out who needs help in their county right now and highlights the support the charity gives families. It includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected]
Pictured: Finley Isherwood