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HI-TECH PIECE OF SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT HELPS REDUCE PAIN FOR JOSEPH

Fifteen-year-old Joseph Hazel can continue to relax at home in comfort and safety thanks to the donation of a specialist piece of equipment from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.

Joseph, from Southampton, has Cerebral Palsy with involuntary movements in all four limbs, Scoliosis and developmental delay. He needs postural support when sitting and is fed through a tube in his stomach.

Newlife had previously provided Joseph with a specialist piece of equipment that is a cross between a wheelchair, bed and therapy table. It allows him to be repositioned to help reduce pain. But Joseph is growing too big for his equipment, which is called an Acheeva, and needs a larger version. Because of the cost – £4,541 – and with no local statutory funding available, the family turned once again to Newlife Foundation.

Mum Heidi Hazel said: “Joseph spends a lot of time each day in his wheelchair, but he is not able to relax comfortably in this. Without the Acheeva he would spend much of his time at home either in bed or on the floor, which isn’t ideal. The Acheeva is a fabulous piece of equipment which gives Joseph a place to chill out and interact with the rest of the family at the same level. From a health point of view it is also crucial because it gives him a space to stretch out and undergo physiotherapy. This is important in reducing the potential complications of long-term immobility.”

She added: “With Joseph now outgrowing the equipment he currently has, without the new, bigger Acheeva his options at home would be dramatically reduced and he would be back on the floor.”

A partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer is now providing the equipment.

M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Cannock and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 200 pieces of essential equipment, totalling £630,000 for disabled children in local communities across the UK. Jacquie Leonard, Community Programme Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment. We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”

Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife Foundation, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK. Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”

Newlife has helped provide £576,654 of equipment for 371 under-19s in Hampshire. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 12 families in the county with equipment needs totalling £8,829.

To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Hampshire go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected] – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Hampshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.

Pictured: Joseph with mum Heidi and dad Tim Hazel.

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