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Five-year-old Mia Cristofoli urgently needs a specialist standing frame so she can take part in more group activities at school and play with her twin sister Ella at home.

Mia, from Christchurch in Dorset, has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and relies on supportive specialist equipment including a buggy for mobility. She has outgrown her previous standing frame, which was not only used for social activities but to support her physical needs.

Mum Gemma Cristofoli said: “Both of Mia’s hips are dislocated so having access to a standing frame is important because it helps her hips stay in the correct position and provides stretch to her muscles which prevents contractures. Also, being able to stand instead of always sitting or lying down helps with Mia’s digestion.”

She added: “A standing frame is important for use at Mia’s school, Victoria Education Centre in Poole. The school is amazing and every day they like to get groups of children into their standers for social and learning activities. Not having her own standing frame at the moment means she has to share one, so she can’t always fully participate.

“Mia absolutely loves school and she is particularly happy when she is using a standing frame because it gives her a totally different view of life.”

The equipment which best suits her needs costs £1,794, which prompted the Cristofoli family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has provided £75,302 of specialist equipment for 57 children in Dorset.

But the charity is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up and there are thousands more hits on the charity’s website

“Because of the huge demand,” said Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, “we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund equipment in Hampshire. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to support disabled children in the county.”

If you think you can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

Newlife is currently working with two families in Dorset, with equipment needs totalling £2,523. Any money raised in excess of Mia’s needs will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in the county.

Pictured: Mia with her twin sister Ella.

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