In her short life, three-year-old Emelia McDonough from Fife has already defied the odds – born prematurely at 25 weeks, she contracted a life threatening infection and needed emergency surgery to remove part of her bowel when she was just six weeks old – she weighed just 2lbs at the time.
Such a traumatic start has left Emelia with severe brain damage – she is unable to walk or sit without support and can’t even carry the weight of her own head. She is now at risk of developing a serious spinal condition because she doesn’t have a specialist seat to keep her properly positioned.
Despite the risk to her already poor posture, there is no local authority funding available to get her the equipment she needs. Now, Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children are appealing to the local community to help raise the £1,184 needed to get Emelia a specialist seat called a P Pod.
Emelia, who lives with her mum Lorraine, dad, Shaun, and 10-month-old brother Adam, has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy which severely affects her ability to control her muscles. Although Fife Council has given her a functional chair she struggles to sit in it for longer than half an hour – and has nowhere she can sit to relax and be comfortable or play with her little brother.
Mum, Lorraine, said: “It took us a really long time just to get the functional seating from the local authority. But Emelia can only sit in it for short periods of time because she has to work really hard to keep her little body in that position. The only other option we have is to sit her on the sofa. But this doesn’t support her properly and affects her posture and her breathing as well.
“Because of her condition she should have a clear 24 hour postural care plan reducing the risk of scoliosis developing in her spine – but without the right equipment it just isn’t possible.”
Newlife’s Senior Manager for Care Services, Carrick Brown, said: “The right kind of postural support can reduce the likelihood of conditions deteriorating and additional conditions like scoliosis from occurring – and of course can reduce the need for invasive surgery further down the road.
“Expensive surgery puts further pressure on the NHS and local health authorities so investing in the right supportive equipment that limits the need for surgical intervention is actually saving money in the long run and could potentially free up budget to be spent in other areas. We urgently want to get Emelia the seat she needs but we simply don’t have the funds today – so we are appealing to the local community for help.”
“Every penny donated will go towards the P Pod for Emelia and will make such a huge difference to her life.”