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When three-year-old Lilly Pickard-Sykes wakes in the middle of the night she repeatedly bangs her head and gets her arms and legs stuck between the bars of her cot bed, leaving her bruised and at serious risk of injury.

Lilly, from the Mackworth area of Derby, has severe developmental delay and no awareness of danger. Her mum, Marie Pickard, barely sleeps, staying awake to make sure Lilly doesn’t hurt herself and preventing her waking her ten year old brother, Callum, and five-year-old sister, Isabella.

With virtually no sleep Marie has become physically and emotionally exhausted. She’s applied to her local health services for a specialist padded bed for Lilly, but it will take months to process. In absolute desperation she turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children who recognised the severity and urgency of the family’s situation and delivered a specialist bed for Lilly within 24 hours through its Emergency Equipment Loan service.

Marie said: “Lilly wears a helmet during the day to protect her head, but can’t sleep in it. The loan bed has made a massive difference to our lives – night time is much more peaceful now! Lilly gets a lot of comfort from rocking and head banging and I protected her the best I could, but she would still end up with marks and bruises. When I saw her arms and legs trapped in the cot bars and that she struggled to get them out, I just went into panic mode.

“Thanks to this bed Lilly can still rock and head bang, but the padding on the high sided bed means she can’t hurt herself and there’s no bars for her arms and legs to get trapped in. She’s awake, but I know she’s safe, which means I’m able to get some sleep.”

Newlife is the only charity providing emergency loans of specialist equipment for disabled children with life limited and terminal conditions, and aims to deliver the equipment within 72 hours. Our team of experienced nurses then work closely with the family and local health services to ensure they get a permanent solution.

Newlife’s Emergency Equipment Loan Service has already provided vital equipment to more than 1000 children in urgent need since it was introduced five years ago. In the last year Newlife stepped in to provide emergency loans of equipment for over 250 – a 16% increase on the previous year.

Carrick Brown, Newlife’s Senior Manager of the Care Services Department, said: “Disabled and terminally ill children suffer avoidable pain and worsening conditions when they can’t get the right equipment at the right time – no child should have to endure this. Through the Emergency Equipment Loan service we’re able to provide a child with the equipment they need when a situation has become critical or their health needs mean they just can’t wait any longer.”

Newlife needs £1million a year to keep its Emergency Equipment Loan service running and to meet the increasingly urgent needs of disabled children and their families. Please help us to help children like Lilly and support our Emergency Response Appeal by making a donation here: