A genetic neuromuscular condition has left eight-year-old Elise Kemp from Taunton dependent on a wheelchair – but sitting upright for longer than 20 minutes at a time causes excruciating pain.
Elise, a pupil at Creech St Michael Primary School, urgently needs a hi-tech powered wheelchair that will not only allow her to lie flat to alleviate the pain but stand upright to help strengthen her muscles, aid digestion and allow her to mix with her friends at eye level and join in more activities.
Elise’s mum Lucinda Carter said: “Her existing wheelchair is coming to the end of its life – but there is an additional problem. Elise had an operation last February to insert rods to correct the scoliosis in her spine; her hip has since dislocated which causes a lot of pain so she needs to lie down a lot. Unfortunately, the current chair won’t tilt more than 30 degrees so she has to go and lie down between lessons at school, although she is currently being home-tutored due to the risk of respiratory infection. At home, because of the pain, she hardly spends any of her time in the wheelchair.”
Lucinda added: “The most appropriate equipment for Elise would not only alleviate the pain but because it has a sit-to-stand feature she could stand up to reach things she has never been able to get anywhere near before and join in with more things at school. Unfortunately, this specialist wheelchair will cost £19,405 – with local wheelchair services contributing £2,276.”
Fundraising by family and friends over the last six months has raised an amazing £6,000, but with over £10,000 left to find, Lucinda turned to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. When Elise was just two years old, Newlife funded a £12,720 wheelchair.
Newlife recently announced it had hit the £10million landmark in terms of funding specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children around the UK. However, statutory cutbacks across the country have led to a surge in applications to the charity for vital equipment to facilitate everyday life. This increased demand has prompted Newlife to call for ‘local heroes’ to come forward to fundraise or donate towards the cost of specialist equipment for children in their county.
If you would like to help raise money to fund a new wheelchair for Elise, 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. Alternatively, go to: www.justgiving.com/EliseKemp1 and donate.
Any money raised surplus to Elise’s requirements will be used to fund equipment for other children in Somerset. Elise is one of three under-19s in the county whose families are currently working with Newlife and have equipment needs totalling £22,380.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children – and donors can ring-fence their money to a specific county.”
For full details of the charity’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – freephone 0800 902 0095 – or go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk
Pictured: Elise Kemp.