Thirteen-year-old Jack Felkin from Erdington, West Midlands, needs your help to get specialist seating that will enable him to sit in comfort and spend more time with his family.
Jack is a bubbly, happy young boy who has Cerebral Palsy and is unable to support his own posture. He has a wheelchair where he sits most of the time but this can become uncomfortable after a while. Sofas and comfy chairs do not offer the appropriate postural support he needs to help prevent further deterioration of his condition so Jack needs specialist seating called a P-Pod (like a giant bean-bag) which will give him a place to sit at home in comfort.
Mum Alison Felkin said: “Jack’s wheelchair is OK for him to sit in for a short while, however it offers zero comfort. He can’t sit on the floor so the alternative is putting him in his bedroom where he is often alone. We used to have something called ‘Lap Down Time’ where Jack would sit on my lap before bedtime for cuddles, giving him a chance to relax – but he is too big for that now and is quite heavy so we have had to stop doing it.”
When Jack became nil by mouth in December of last year and started to be fed through a nasal gastric tube his mum Alison was heart-broken as dinner time was the only real time they could bond together.
“Jack used to have three meals a day which was such an important time for us because it was just him and I. We were on the same eye level so it made bonding easier and that much more special – even though Jack can’t speak he would always try and help me feed him. When this stopped I felt like my world had been turned upside down because we are no longer able to enjoy dinner time together. I have even stopped myself and the family eating in front of him. Every Wednesday I would have all my children and grandchildren around and cook a big meal but this has gone out of the window now that Jack can’t eat anymore.”
The specialist seating will not only offer Jack a comfortable place to relax but it will also provide added postural support. But with a price tag of £1,173 and no statutory funding available, his mum turned to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness.
“This chair will help me get my connection back with Jack, he will be able to spend a lot more time with the family. When Jack tried the chair out he looked so happy and comfortable like it was meant for him. Even with all his health problems he always has a smile on his face and has adapted to the changes in his life better than I have.
“Every mother wants to give their child the world and I am no different; this chair would have a huge impact on us as a family. I just want the best for my son,” added Alison.
Jack is just one of 106 children in the county who need equipment worth a total of £49,880. That’s why Newlife has a dedicated Newlife West Midlands Fund – https://newlifecharity.co.uk/westmidlands – which gives local people the opportunity to help local disabled children and every penny donated or fundraised in the West Midlands is guaranteed to support families in the county.
The Newlife West Midlands Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness. Newlife has provided 1,191 families in the West Midlands with disability equipment – including beds, wheelchairs, seating and sensory aids – worth over £1,264,000. However, the demand is still high.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of the money donated or fundraised for Jack will go towards providing his specialist seat and any surplus funds raised will help another disabled or terminally ill child within the West Midlands.
Further information about the Newlife West Midlands Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to help Jack – can be found by going to https://newlifecharity.co.uk/westmidlands or emailing [email protected] Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462777.
Pictured: Jack Felkin