Being able to take your child out in safety is something that many of us would consider our right, but for Harrison Brown’s family this right is slipping further and further away. All they need is a simple piece of equipment – a specialist car seat – which will allow Harrison to travel safely with his family.
The two-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, has Cerebral Palsy affecting the right side of his body after being born prematurely at 28 weeks. His muscles are tight and rigid, so is unable to stretch out his legs to allow him to stand or support his own body weight.
Harrison is quickly outgrowing his existing car seat and it doesn’t offer him the postural support he really needs.
Harrison’s mum Lydia Wakelin said: “He’s had his current car seat since he was born and it isn’t giving him any support – we need to be really careful that he doesn’t develop a curve in his spine. Harrison is a big lad for his age and it is getting to the point now where he is just too big for the seat and it is stopping us from going out in the car.”
Lydia is also dealing with her own recent diagnosis of hip dysplasia, a painful condition affecting the hip socket.
“Lifting Harrison up into the car is really difficult,” Lydia said. “And as he gets bigger and heavier it will get harder. He has weekly medical appointments and I have been avoiding taking him in the car because the car seat isn’t suitable for him anymore. I have been pushing him in his buggy instead and that causes issues for me with my hip.”
A specialist car seat will not only provide Harrison with a safe seat in which to travel as well as the postural support he needs in order to prevent future damage to his spine, it will also have a turntable base so that Lydia can get him into the car with ease, preventing further discomfort to both her and Harrison.
But with specialist car seats costing £684, and no statutory funding available, Lydia turned to Newlife Foundation, the UK’s leading charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
In Staffordshire, Newlife has provided in excess of £934,000 of disability equipment – including beds, wheelchairs, seating and sensory aids – for 757 children.
However, the demand is still high and Newlife is currently working with 18 families in Staffordshire alone, who need equipment totalling £4,375. That’s why Newlife has a dedicated Newlife Staffordshire Fund – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/staffordshire – it gives local people the to help local disabled children and every penny donated or fundraised in Staffordshire is guaranteed to support families in the county. The Newlife Staffordshire 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 donated or fundraised for Harrison will go towards funding his special car seat and any surplus funds raised will go towards helping a disabled or terminally ill child within the Staffordshire area.
Further information about the Newlife Staffordshire Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to help Harrison – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/staffordshire or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462777.
If you want to help with fundraising for the Staffordshire area, you can also contact Keleigh Tomlinson on 07973 473268.
Pictured: Harrison Brown