The family of Hampshire teenager Lizzie Baty are encouraging local people to support a newly launched fund to provide specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness in Hampshire.
Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has already helped 314 children in Hampshire through equipment grants and loans totalling nearly £510,000 so the charity knows there is a very real need for a specific county fund. In this way it aims to help more children, more quickly.
Right now, Lizzie’s family is one of 17 in Hampshire currently working with Newlife Foundation to secure vital specialist equipment to help improve daily life. Further information about the Newlife Hampshire Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to support Lizzie – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire or by emailing email@example.com. Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462 777.
Hampshire teen Lizzie Baty uses a specialist wheelchair to accommodate her spinal brace and keep her as supported as possible – but after outgrowing this she needs a replacement so she can continue to get around and spend time with her friends.
The family, from Hook in the district of Hart, received a Chunc wheelchair for Lizzie four years ago from leading national children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation which has helped keep her happy and safe and has adapted as her needs have changed. However, the 14-year-old is now too big for the wheelchair and needs a larger version.
Lizzie has a rare neurological disorder which means her muscles are loose and floppy which has left her unable to walk. She also developed seizures and a curvature of the spine for which she wears a spinal brace. Lizzie has also lost the skills she developed as a baby and remains dependent on family and carers at the residential school she attends – The Children’s Trust in Tadworth, Surrey, which she attends because of the complex therapy support she needs.
The new Chunc wheelchair will make life much easier for both Lizzie, mum Ann, dad Tim and her carers as it is very padded and easily adjustable, which suits her many medical needs. However as the equipment costs £3,897 and wheelchair services offered the family a voucher of £845, the family raised £500 themselves and turned to Newlife for help to raise the rest.
Lizzie’s mum Ann said: “Because of her condition she needs a well-designed and constructed wheelchair which can be finely adjusted. She wears ankle splints and is fed through a tube in her stomach and sometimes this type of wheelchair is really helpful for this as it reclines easily. This also helps after Lizzie has had a seizure and needs to sleep.
“As she gets bigger the Chunc wheelchair means that her every-day life is much easier to manage and everything in the outside world so much easier to negotiate. Because of the original wheelchair she was able to go and see the Lion King in London – it makes everything so much more accessible for her.
“Lizzie is also very sociable – she demands engagement from people and likes them to be silly so she can giggle at them. The new wheelchair will mean she is better supported now and in the future so she can continue to be out and about with other young people and have a social life. It also gives me a feeling of confidence and security when she’s out as it’s such a fab piece of equipment. If she’s safe and happy then we are happy!”
The Newlife Hampshire Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Vitally, the Newlife Hampshire Fund website – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire – will enable local people to find out who needs help in their county right now and highlight the support the charity gives vulnerable families. It includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families.
That might involve taking part in a local sporting challenge, give you information on how to organise a fundraising event – or even ask you to donate £5 today! Volunteers are also needed to help raise awareness of what we do and how we do it.
We hope that by launching the Newlife Hampshire Fund, children with disabilities or terminal illness in the county won’t have to go without the equipment they need for everyday life.
Newlife Foundation supports families in Hampshire through a range of free services:
Emergency equipment loans
Sensory and developmental toy ‘pod’ loans.
Pictured: Lizzie Baty