When a 13-year-old Broadway girl’s health deteriorated rapidly – and she urgently needed a specialist wheelchair – her family turned to a Midlands charity for help. The equipment was delivered to their home just days later.
Aliki Vlachos – a pupil at Vale of Evesham School – has a severe neurological disorder that affects her learning and mobility. Mum Julie said: “Aliki has had a big deterioration recently and is now receiving palliative care. Her old wheelchair just wasn’t suitable any more – she started to get curvature of the spine – but we were told it would take six months to get a replacement through wheelchair services.”
Aliki’s hospice support worker suggested the family contact Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, and a suitable wheelchair – while she waited for permanent provision – was delivered days later.
Julie said: “Newlife was quick to respond to our needs and the interim wheelchair has been fantastic for Aliki. Without it she would have had a very uncomfortable and isolating few months while we waited for a new one to arrive. It has corrected her posture and helped with her breathing and swallowing, so that now Aliki can spend more time at school.”
The wheelchair loan was provided through Newlife’s emergency equipment loan service Just Can’t Wait (JCW), which aims to get essential support to the homes of life-limited children within 72 hours. Included in the JCW service are wheelchairs, buggies, specialist beds, seating and portable hoists.
JCW was launched as a pilot in 2011 but in the last financial year (2013/14) saw demand for emergency equipment loans jump by 88 per cent. This swift provision facilitates children leaving hospital to be cared for by their families at home; replaces unsafe or unsuitable equipment; offers equipment where there is none and reacts to sudden and serious changes in children’s conditions.
Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson said: “Our ‘fast track’ option is there because children’s needs are so wide and varied. And, within statutory services procedures, there isn’t always the facility for families to access equipment quickly.”
Newlife Equipment Grants also support families of disabled and terminally ill children in Worcestershire – since 2005, 111 grants totalling £224,572 have benefitted under-19s in the county (UK total is over £11million).
The charity is currently working with the families of two disabled children in Worcestershire, with Equipment Grant needs totalling £8,969. If you would like to donate or fundraise to help these children, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance. 100 per cent of every donation will go directly towards providing equipment for children in Worcestershire.
To find out about the charity’s full range of equipment services, contact the Newlife Nurse Helpline on freephone 0800 902 0095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured: Aliki in her ‘emergency’ wheelchair.