Ten-year-old Suraj Patel doesn’t have the option to walk wherever and whenever he wants like other children. Leading disabled children’s charity, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is looking for local heroes in West Yorkshire to help provide him with a specialist walker so he can be more independent, less frustrated and do what he enjoys most – playing in the garden with his younger brother and sister.
Suraj lives in Leeds with his parents and two younger siblings. He has epilepsy, limited communication and is visually impaired. Suraj has had a walking frame for the past eight years but this is now too small for him – and because it doesn’t support his size properly he regularly falls over.
Suraj has access to an appropriate walker at school but is missing having one to use at home. A new specialist walking frame of his own will help him regain some of the independence he has lost.
Dad Peter Patel said: “Since I’ve started to assist him more while walking, he has become more frustrated as we have taken away the independence he once had when he could walk with the frame on his own. Suraj loves being outdoors; every year at his school he takes part in the charity sports day and gets a certificate for doing so – he uses a walker provided by the school which we are unable to take home with us. Because his old walker is too small I have to walk behind him to give him extra support. We have a big kitchen which Suraj enjoys to walk around especially if his mum is cooking.”
The specialist walking frame the family needs costs £1,976 but this is out of the family’s budget which is why they have turned to Newlife, the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Peter added: “With a new walker Suraj will be able to play with his younger brother and sister again in our back garden – he loves walking up and down it. He can’t talk but we know he’s having fun and is excited because he makes a lot of noise and this is something we don’t get to hear often. Physically he looks fine but he will always need support; the walker will give him the opportunity to do the things he loves to do.”
Right now, Suraj is just one of 24 children in the county who need equipment totalling £22,384. That’s why Newlife has a dedicated West Yorkshire Fund – https://newlifecharity.co.uk/WestYorkshire – which gives local people the opportunity to help local disabled children. Every penny donated or fundraised in West Yorkshire is guaranteed to support families in the county.
To specifically support Suraj, go the website and click on the Donate button beside his story.
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.
The Newlife West Yorkshire Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness. Newlife has provided 355 families in West Yorkshire with disability equipment – including beds, wheelchairs, seating and sensory aids – worth over £400,000. However, the demand is still high.
Pictured: Suraj Patel