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Four-year-old Carina Anderson, from Somerset, needs a specialist bed to help ensure her safety when she has night-time seizures.

Carina has a diagnosis of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex with associated epilepsy and Global Developmental Delay; she can sit and move around on her knees but is unable to stand or walk. She also has up to 20 seizures a day and regularly bruises her limbs on the wooden sides of her existing cot bed.

Mum Caroline Masters said: “Carina currently sleeps in a standard cot bed but although we have done our best to pad it out she ends up bruised because of the seizures, which can occur at any time.”

The specialist equipment that best suits Carina’s needs costs £3,390. Statutory services have offered £1,500 towards the cost, leaving Caroline and her partner to find the balance. Caroline, whose fourth child is due in July, said: “That is the maximum they can offer and we just don’t have the remaining £1,890.”

This prompted her to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help with funding. Newlife has provided £116,732 of vital specialist equipment for 77 children in Somerset. But the charity is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 81 per cent. This is an average of 300 calls a week, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “Because of the huge demand, we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund equipment in Somerset. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to support disabled children in the county.”

She added: “Equipment ‘enables’. It can mean the difference between comfort and pain, engagement or isolation, freedom or a worsening condition. Therefore, our equipment grants are vital to so many children, offering practical support to families. Equipment can range from beds – like this one for Carina – and wheelchairs to specialist seating and communication aids. Equipment costing from hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can revolutionise a child’s life.”

The specialist cot bed – which is fully padded and with drop-down sides – would also allow mum Caroline to adjust the mattress height to assist with changing and dressing Carina. Caroline said: “The constant bending over and lifting has taken its toll on our backs, so this new bed would not only benefit Carina but us as well. However, the most important thing will be that we will know she is going to be safe.”

If you think you can help, 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.

Carina attends Five Ways Special School in Somerset; any money raised in excess of her needs will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in Somerset.


Pictured: Carina Anderson.

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