An Epsom mother has described a leading children’s disability charity as a ‘Godsend’ and is helping to raise awareness of its work so that more families in Surrey can get the support they need. Fatima Fauzel’s son Hassan, aged 12, has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy – which means he has no independent mobility – Epilepsy and profound multiple learning difficulties. He also wears a spinal brace 23 hours a day because of scoliosis. Fatima said: “It is a constant struggle to get help from statutory services – each department argues over whose budget should pay for anything. We have recently funded a stairlift ourselves because we couldn’t get help locally – so being able to turn to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has been a Godsend for our family.” Hassan has a wheelchair for school, but, says Fatima: “It is very heavy and as I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in both hands this makes a walk to the shops, or around the local park really difficult, although I have now had surgery on my right hand.”
She added: “Newlife has provided a specialist buggy for Hassan, which makes getting around so much easier. It’s the little things like this that make such a big difference to the daily lives of families of disabled children.” In recent months, Hassan has been no stranger to the hospital. He has had a series of chest infections, which have required IV antibiotics, increased oxygen, suctioning, chest physio and has undergone an operation to insert a feeding tube into his stomach. Fatima said: “All of this has meant huge changes to Hassan’s body. It was obvious he would need somewhere comfortable at home to recover but we didn’t want him confined to his bed and it just isn’t safe to hoist him onto the family sofa because someone has to sit with him all the time to make sure he doesn’t fall off. “He had been using a special chair at school which did the trick, but statutory services wouldn’t fund this equipment at home.” The chair cost £4,043 – so Fatima gave the Newlife Nurse Helpline another call. She said: “The way that they dealt with my situation has really humbled me. Hassan had his stomach surgery on April 1st (2014); after the operation, part of his lung collapsed so he was transferred to intensive care for respiratory support. He picked up an infection while he was in hospital and the face mask rubbed a layer of skin off the bridge of his nose. So he wasn’t in the best of health, nor was it a smooth and swift hospital stay. Newlife delivered the seating so it was there ready for his return home – and it has been wonderful. He uses it every day. Not only does it keep him safe but he is comfortable; it allows him to relax sitting up with a handy tray attachment, and reclines when he needs to rest. We can also change him while he is on the chair, so this reduces the need for hoisting. For Hassan, this seating has been the best thing – ever!”
Hassan’s sister, Ruksana Fauzel, a student physiotherapist said: “We are eternally grateful that this charity exists. The specialist lightweight pushchair and recliner sofa have given both my brother and my family an improved quality of life. It makes a real positive difference to his medical care, physical/postural management and social life. Hassan is due to have spinal fusion surgery soon, it’s good to know that the specialist equipment provided by Newlife is already in place to keep him safe, comfortable and in a well-supported position.” Fatima added: “I come into contact with a lot of other parents of disabled children and I tell them all about Newlife . . .” Newlife Foundation is the UK’s leading children’s disability charity and has provided more than £11milion of essential specialist equipment for under-19s. In 2013/14 alone, this amounted to £2,088,105 for 1,303 children – a 33 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. In fact, there was increased demand last year for all of Newlife’s practical support services. The charity’s emergency equipment loan service for life-limited children, called Just Can’t Wait, saw a 78 per cent jump and demand for its sensory and developmental toy loan service, Play Therapy Pods, went up by 273 per cent. Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “With statutory services across the UK implementing continued budget cuts, we expect to see more and more families turn to Newlife Foundation for help. That’s why we’re appealing for ‘local heroes’ to come forward and donate or fundraise to help a disabled or terminally ill child in their county or area. Newlife operates its own successful recycling and retail business which funds our core services, which enables us to make our ‘100 per cent guarantee’. Every penny that people donate goes directly to funding vital equipment. This could be a wheelchair or buggy like Hassan’s for mobility, a specialist bed or car seat to keep a child safe or a communication aid so they can tell their parents when they are hungry or in pain.” If would like to help other disabled and terminally ill children in Surrey, call the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640 or email [email protected]. To find out more about the range of practical support services offered by the charity – all of which are free of charge – call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on freephone 0800 902 0095 or email [email protected].
Pictured: Hassan Fauzel
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