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LUKE NOW TRAVELS IN COMFORT AND SAFETY

A five-year-old boy from Kingswinford is now able to travel safely and attend important hospital appointments thanks to a new specialist car seat.

Weighing just 2lb 5oz Luke Powers was born extremely prematurely at 26 weeks. He spent five months in hospital, had five operations, is partially sighted and has cerebral palsy affecting his legs, lower torso and right arm.

He can only walk short flat distances, going up on his toes and turning one foot in and falling often, but is able to attend a local mainstream school.

Luke had outgrown his old car seat and became a danger to himself and passengers as he could slide out of his old seat and distract the driver. His parents turned to Cannock based Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children after failing to find funding for the much needed equipment.

Mum Claire explains: “At 18kg he was at the limits of his old five point harness car seat and there were no normal seats with five point harnesses for over 18kgs, especially reclining ones which could have specific chest, shoulder and foot supports.

“Luke requires a five point harness due to his weak torso – he would either roll to the side, topple forwards or simply slide out of a normal seat-belted car seat due to his inability to maintain sitting position and his high tone due to his cerebral palsy which straightens his torso when he’s excited or upset.

“The funding from Newlife has enabled us to have a car seat which fully supports Luke and meets his and our needs and lets us travel in relative normality,” Claire added.

“Since we’ve had the specialist car seat we can confidently go on long journeys knowing that Luke is comfortable, supported and safe. He now has a foot rest which gives him additional core stability and support for his heavy Piedro Boots and frequent serial plaster casts. Previously, he frequently rolled forward alarmingly and I was continually having to turn around in my seat and try and get him to sit upright. In his new car seat we no longer have to worry.”

The £2,242 purchase was funded thanks to a partnership formed between Newlife, the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children and The Morgan Foundation.

The Morgan Foundation is working with Newlife to ensure more children with disabilities and terminal illness get the right equipment at the right time. This includes wheelchairs, buggies and walkers for mobility, specialist car seats and beds for safety and a range of other disability equipment including communication aids, walking frames, portable hoists and seating systems.

A Morgan Foundation fundraising golf day and gala dinner in support of Newlife held last year raised £450,000 to provide vital specialist equipment specifically for families across North Wales, Merseyside, West Cheshire, North Shropshire and parts of the West Midlands.

Steve Morgan, chairman of The Morgan Foundation, said: “Having a vital aid like this means Luke can be transported in comfort and makes life for the family easier.

“Everyone who took part in our golf day or attended the gala dinner has helped – and will continue to help – make a real difference.”

Newlife Foundation for Children with Disabilities or terminal illness is a national charity which works extensively with families across the region and has funded in excess of £13million of disability equipment for under-19s in the UK since 2005. A total of £1,150,514 of this has been in the West Midlands.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown added: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife so their children can get vital equipment for everyday life. Having the support of The Morgan Foundation is an enormous boost for Newlife.

“We look forward to helping to transform more lives across The Morgan Foundation catchment area. Anyone struggling to access equipment through their statutory services should call our Newlife Nurse Helpline to discuss their individual situation.”

For further information about The Morgan Foundation visit the website, www.morganfoundation.co.uk or call 01829 782800.

If you would like to find out more about Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and how to access its services, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK mobilkes &  landlines) or go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk.

Pictured: Luke Powers

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