When the sun is shining and a warm breeze is blowing, there is nothing better than lying on the grass, looking up at the sky, the light dappled through the trees above. But for 14-year-old Daniel Oldham it wasn’t going to be possible – until Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children was able to help.
Daniel, who lives in Derby, has complex medical needs including developmental delay, autism and epilepsy as well as number of conditions affecting his joints and posture – he relies on his parents for all aspects of his care needs. A recent operation to alleviate a curve in his spine meant a two week stay in hospital for the teenager and would have seen him confined to his bedroom without a special piece of hoisting equipment that would allow his parents to move him safely.
Daniel has a hoist in his bedroom which is great for moving him from there to his bathroom, but when it came to spending time with the rest of the family elsewhere in the house, or even going out into the garden or visiting his grandparents, he was incredibly restricted.
So Daniel’s mum, Rosalind, contacted Newlife Foundation, the UK’s largest charity funder of essential equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness, to see if it was able to help.
Recognising the urgent need, the charity was able to provide Daniel with a portable hoist on loan so that Daniel could be moved safely after his surgery and the family could spend time together and with his grandparents, allowing some respite for Rosalind and a change of scenery for Daniel.
Fortunately, Newlife was then able to raise the necessary funds to give Daniel a portable hoist of his own, allowing his parents to move him around their home more easily and even out into the garden.
Mum Rosalind said; “After Daniel’s operation we were told that we wouldn’t be able to lift him anymore – we had got our own system for moving him but the risk was too high after his surgery. Although he had his hoist in his room to get him between the bed and his bathroom, we didn’t have any other way of moving him.
“The portable hoist that we had on loan was brilliant because it allowed us to visit my parents who were able to look after Daniel while I got some rest. And now we have our own we can move Daniel around much more safely – we are looking forward to the summer months when he can be outside and lie on the grass – something he hasn’t been able to do before – and he absolutely loves to be outside.”
The portable hoist also means the family can consider a holiday, something which has been off limits for some time. “We are looking into taking a trip on a specially adapted narrowboat,”
Rosalind added. “It has been so long since we have been able to even think about taking a family holiday, but now we can.”
Daniel’s equipment was funded through donations to the Newlife Derbyshire Fund which supports equipment provision for under 19s in the county area facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness. The website – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/derbyshire enables local people to find out who needs help in the county right now and highlights the support given to local families.
Newlife has already helped 290 children in the county, just like Daniel, with equipment worth £222,902. But more help is still needed – currently there are 13 children in Derbyshire who need equipment totalling £666. For more information about the Newlife Derbyshire Fund, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/derbyshire or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444.
Pictured: Daniel Oldham