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A special travel bed from a national children’s disability charity will make a big difference to the lives of five-year-old Zac Morrison and his family, allowing them to take a much needed break together and enjoy some stress-free family time.

Zac is a happy little boy who loves spending time with his parents Amy and Shane, as well as his eight-year-old brother Blake and two-year-old sister Saskia. With work, school runs and medical appointments to keep, life is busy for the family from Colchester, but taking a short break or holiday would mean they could relax and enjoy some family time together. However, Zac’s conditions – Cystic Fibrosis, Angelman Syndrome and Epilepsy – means it is difficult for them to stay away from home overnight.

Although Zac can shuffle around on his bottom, he’s unable to walk and doesn’t talk; he is given top up feeds through a tube to help him gain weight and has a very poor sleep pattern. Mum Amy said: “Children with Angelman syndrome don’t sleep well as they don’t produce much melatonin, the chemical which helps us sleep. He’ll only sleep for a few hours before waking and as he has no awareness of danger we couldn’t put him in an ordinary bed.

“At home he has a large specialist bed which he is very safe in. It has folding doors and an area he can see through. Up until now if we went away we could take a travel cot, but he is tall for his age and the last time he used it he really wasn’t comfortable, he didn’t sleep much and he could physically move the cot around by kicking the insides. It’s not safe.

“We want to be able to spend time away together as a family and go on holiday and a specialist travel bed could also be used for Zac to have respite care, so we looked into getting a SafeSpace Voyager. It looks really nice, safe and secure and it’s something he can relate to with its high sides reminding him of his bed at home and it will also be able to stand up to his kicking, but it costs a ridiculous amount of money.”

Unable to fund the £2,899 special bed themselves, the family turned to Newlife Foundation – the UK’s largest charity funder of children’s specialist disability equipment for help.

Mum Amy adds: “We’d like to be able to do the things that other families take for granted, to have that quality time away with each other and de-stress. Zac is on a lot of medications and has a lot of appointments so life is full on all of the time, so it would be nice if we could get away and not have to think about all the everyday stuff for a while.”

Right now, there are another three children with disabilities or a terminal illness in Essex who need your help to get the specialist equipment that will really change their lives. Further information about the Newlife Essex Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to support Zac – can be found by going to or by emailing Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462 777.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has already helped 71 children in Essex through equipment grants and loans totalling nearly £125,505, 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.

The Newlife Essex Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.

We hope that by launching the Newlife Essex 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 Essex through a range of free services:

Nurse-staffed helpline

Equipment grants

Emergency equipment loans

Sensory and developmental toy ‘pod’ loans.

Pictured: Zac Morrison