A disabled children’s charity is urgently appealing for the local community to help raise funds for a specialist seat so six-year-old Milo Tommy Browne can sit up without choking.
An appeal launched by Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children to fund the seat has already prompted generous donations but is still £3,000 short of its target.
Milo, from North Shields, has a degenerative condition so rare it only has ten recorded cases world-wide and he’s often forced to spend months at a time in hospital.
He has up to 50 seizures a day, can’t walk or control his own head, struggles to breathe and needs to be in just the right position to stop him choking to death and to prevent his spine from curving.
He’s also registered blind and his arms and legs jerk uncontrollably making it hard to keep him in a safe position.
Milo has a ‘functional chair’ from North Tyneside Council which helps his posture, but it’s too painful for him to use for more than a few hours at a time leaving him exhausted and in agony from the effort it takes to sit upright.
As the council will only fund one chair, Milo’s parents Laura Davidson and Stephen Browne have no choice but to prop Milo up on the sofa – but this puts him at risk of choking on his own saliva; they can’t leave him alone for a second.
Laura said: “Milo deserves a place to sit where he can be comfortable, but his Occupational Therapist said that we would need to give back his functional seat if they funded a more comfortable one. It’s ridiculous to make us choose, he desperately needs both.
“As a parent you don’t want to ask for help, but having the seat would be life changing for Milo.”
Applications to Newlife for funding from families with disabled and terminally ill children in Tyne and Wear has now reached more than £44,000 – and new applications arrive regularly.
Newlife’s Senior Manager for Care Services, Carrick Brown, said: “There’s been a 15 per cent increase in the number of disabled children in the North East in the last year.
“With local health and social care services being stretched beyond belief, a growing number of families have no choice but to turn to charities for support.
“We would love to help Milo, but we simply don’t have funds available. So we’re asking people in Tyne and Wear for help, either by making a donation or fundraising to help him so he’s safe, free from pain and his spine isn’t in danger of deteriorating.”
Anyone who is able to help Milo should contact Newlife on 01543 431444. To donate £10 text MILO10 to 70070, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.newlifecharity.co.uk/northeast. Donations can also be sent by cheque, made payable to Newlife. This should be sent to ‘Milo’s Fund’, Newlife Charity for Disabled Children, Newlife Centre, Hemlock Way, Cannock, Staffordshire, WS11 7GF.
Money raised above the amount needed for Milo’s specialist seat will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in need in Tyne and Wear.