Night-time cuts and bruises are a thing of the past for six-year-old Maggie Mayes from Harleston near Stowmarket. She is now sleeping in safety – thanks to the emergency loan of a specialist bed. “It is a life-saver,” says mum Sarah.
Maggie has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and epilepsy; she has no awareness of danger and seeks sensory feedback by banging her head and body against hard surfaces.
Sarah explains: “She had a special cot bed which was padded but she kept head-banging the corner and ended up cutting her head open. Some of it is frustration because she can’t communicate, but it’s what the Maggies of this world do – it is not unusual.
“She was regularly covered in bruises where she had banged against the sides of the cot, despite the padding, but when she cut her head open that was just too much. Maggie’s occupational therapist told us about SafeSpace beds – and put us in touch with Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. We were amazed by how quickly the charity responded and just a couple of weeks later we had a SafeSpace on loan for Maggie.
“The equipment ‘does what it says on the can’ – it is a safe space and although Maggie isn’t sleeping any more than before, we now have peace of mind throughout the night knowing that she won’t hurt herself. It’s amazing.”
Newlife Foundation is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has helped 90 under-19s in Suffolk with equipment totalling £113,790. Newlife supports families through equipment grants and loans, accessed through its Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).
Maggie’s bed has been provided through its Emergency Equipment Loan service. This offers a quick response for families of life limited and terminally ill children and those sleeping in unsafe environments and includes wheelchairs, buggies, beds, seating and portable hoists.
For further details about how Newlife supports children in the county, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/suffolk. You can donate to the Newlife Suffolk County Fund through the website, or alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email email@example.com.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “For many, the right equipment at the right time not only relieves pain and isolation, it helps prevent long-term deterioration and enables children to make the most of life’s opportunities. In some cases, the equipment we provide means that children can be discharged home from hospital and into the care of their families. For others, having a hi-tech wheelchair means they can continue with their education or specialist supportive seating gets them out of bed and back at the heart of family life.”
Newlife is currently working with another three families in Suffolk with equipment needs totalling £252. She added: “Public support has never been needed more. I know this is a busy time for families as they start thinking about the festive season, but I am urging people to spare a minute to consider how they could help improve a disabled child’s life this Christmas.”
Pictured: Maggie Mayes