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A disabled children’s charity is seeking to raise funds to help a budding bookworm enjoy the pleasures of reading.

Seven-year-old Abigail Pike, from Dorset, has limited vision and is sensitive to light, due to the condition Bilateral Peter’s Anomaly. Her family has turned to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children to fund a special magnifier (Vision Impaired Reader) so she can read her favourite books at home rather than listen to them as audio books.

The Reader costs £1,670 and although Statutory Services has provided one for Abigail at school, the family say they will not provide one for home.

Her mum Melanie Anderson-Pike, who is Abigail’s full-time carer, believes it would work wonders for Abigail to be able to read her favourite books. She said: “Abigail loves books by Jacqueline Wilson, but when she’s at home she can only use audio books because the print is just too small for her to read. She is a real bookworm and loves books but she can’t see the print which is frustrating for her. Abigail would love to be able to go to the library and choose a book just like her friends but she can’t and she finds that frustrating. Statutory Services only provide the most basic equipment in school and absolutely nothing else. This is an expensive piece of equipment and if funds aren’t raised – Abigail won’t get it.”

Abigail was born with the condition that leaves her using a long white cane. Before she was 3½ she endured ten eye operations which were largely unsuccessful to her right eye and left her with severely reduced vision in her left eye. Her mum Melanie wants Abigail to enjoy the best quality of life possible and the equipment will help.

“Giving her this equipment would mean she could be more independent with her schoolwork at home all on her own,” she said. “It would change things for our family.”

Newlife is appealing to people in Dorset to help it meet the funds for Abigail’s equipment. Since 2005 the charity has spent £48,305 in Dorset and helped 45 children but need for help is increasing and the charity receives no government funding. Calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline have increased by 73 per cent on last year illustrating the growing needs of disabled children.

The charity is currently trying to raise £7,136 to help five children in Dorset who need essential equipment but Newlife can guarantee that 100 per cent of gifts and donations will go directly towards providing specialist equipment for children in need. This is possible because the charity operates its own trading company, which exists purely to support the aims of Newlife Foundation and covers all administration costs.

Any money raised surplus to requirements for Abigail will help support other disabled and terminally-ill children in Dorset.

Contact the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640 for further details.

Anyone who wants to supply equipment directly to the family, please contact Newlife.

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