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A Castleford two-year-old with a rare genetic condition was in constant danger of choking because she didn’t have a suitable seat to keep her supported in the right position for her safety.

Tiahna Huddlestone isn’t able to sit up without help or support her own head and she experiences numerous seizures each day. She isn’t able to swallow properly, so she is fed through a tube, but if she isn’t supported in just the right position she can be sick and breathe this into her lungs.

The family’s local statutory services wouldn’t fund specialist comfort seating for the hour it takes to feed Tiahna, as she already has a moulded, hard seat, but this is too uncomfortable for her to sit in for any length of time and she quickly becomes distressed, making feeding her more dangerous. In desperation her parents turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children – the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment.

Newlife launched an appeal for ‘local heroes’ to help fund the £1,033 piece of equipment. Lots of kind hearted locals responded to the call – and now, thanks to an additional donation of almost £700 from fashion retailer River Island, Tiahna has the specialist P-Pod seat she needs to be safe.

Mum Ashlie Maskill said: “The P-Pod keeps Tiahna safe when she is having a tube feed or if she has a seizure, it’s just brilliant. It’s good for her posture and she is really comfortable in it too – she loves it. It makes life so much easier as I can leave her in it if I need to pop away for a few seconds as I also have sons Enzo, aged five months, and Dillan, aged seven.

“Tiahna is a really happy little girl and the P-Pod also helps play with her favourite musical toys. It has made a really big difference to Tiahna’s life, as well as to myself and her dad, Reece. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”

The River Island funding came through its UK-wide ‘fantastic plastic’ initiative – donating the profits from the sale of every five pence carrier bag in every store to Newlife, which uses the money to provide a range of specialist equipment. To date, this initiative has resulted in almost £600,000 of equipment.

Newlife has helped 95 families in West Yorkshire. To find out more about how Newlife supports local children, go to Right now, the charity has 16 families in the county and needs to fund £9,000 of equipment to help them. You can do this by donating through the website or, alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team on 01543 462777 or email

Newlife’s Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan said: “It’s great we could help Tiahna but now we need to find funds to help the other West Yorkshire children. So we are appealing to individuals, groups, clubs and companies to help us help them. To find out how you can help a local disabled child go to: Alternatively, contact Suzie on 01543 462777 or email

Pictured: Tiahna Huddlestone