Latest Newlife News


A Sheffield nine-year-old who is completely dependent on his exhausted mum for his every need is finally joining his twin brother and younger sister for sleepovers at their grandparents – thanks to a specialist travel bed provided by donations from River Island and members of the local community.

Harry Cooper can’t walk, talk or feed himself and suffers from seizures so severe they could kill him. Mum and Dad, Gemma and Anthony, watches over him day and night, which pushes her to breaking point.

The only relief for Gemma, who has recently had a new baby, Mia Rose, is for Harry to go with his twin brother and younger sister for a sleepover at their grandparents – but without a specialist bed this simply wasn’t possible. Gemma was pushed to breaking point.

Harry has Microcephaly, Epilepsy and Osteoporosis, which means his bones are very fragile. His complex medical needs mean he has to have a special type of bed; with high, padded sides so he can’t injure himself when having a seizure, a door for easy access in an emergency and is robust enough so he can’t fall out.

The bed Harry has at home was too big and bulky to be taken anywhere else. So when his brother and sister go for sleepovers or holidays with their grandparents’, poor Harry was left at home!

But now Harry can join them, thanks to the specialist bed from Newlife funded through a fantastic plastic initiative by fashion chain River Island.

The profit from the sale of every five pence carrier bag at every one of the high street fashion stores across the UK is donated to Newlife – which is used to provide specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children. Members of the local community also helped towards the costs of the £2,955 bed.

Gemma said: “I’m so grateful to River Island and everyone who donated. I care for Harry 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  I’m completely exhausted, even more so now I’m pregnant.

“I sleep with one ear open all the time.  Although we have a video monitoring him through the night, his seizures are life threatening which petrifies me, sometimes lasting up to thirty minutes.

“Although he can’t speak, Harry understands that he’s left at home when his brother and sister go away to their grandparents.

“It’s so good for him to be able to join them, and means I can get some rest and recharge my batteries.”

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife for specialist equipment which can have a significant effect on young lives. Having the national support of River Island is an enormous boost for us.”

Newlife wants to be able to help more children like Harry, but, unfortunately, we’ve seen a sharp increase in demand for our services, especially across the Yorkshire region, where there are now more than 92,000 disabled children. We simply don’t have funds in the bank to help every single disabled child.

There are 15 children in South Yorkshire suffering right now because they don’t have the specialist equipment they need.  We need to raise £22,076 to help them all – which is why your support really matters.  Text NEWL18 £10 to 70070 or donate online at