Four-year-old Jessica Price will soon be sleeping in safety at her Preston home – thanks to the donation of a specialist bed from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.
Jessica has a rare chromosome disorder which means she can’t walk, but she likes to roll around; she can’t sleep in a standard bed because she would just roll off, but her limbs have become trapped in the rails of her cot bed. Mum Lisa Hewitt said: “She has hurt herself a couple of times now and I am concerned about her safety in the future.”
What Jessica needs is a specialist high sided bed with extra padding and clear side panels. Mum Lisa Hewitt said: “I thought local statutory services would fund a bed, but they won’t because we don’t know what the future holds for Jessica. We are on a magical mystery tour as far as her health is concerned because she has such a rare condition.”
Lisa turned to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children – the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – for help to fund a £4,730 specialist bed – and the charity’s partnership with Marks & Spencer is now providing the equipment.
The bed also has a high-low facility, so Lisa can use the bed at a comfortable height for changing and dressing her daughter; and going forward it will potentially help to enable Jessica to transfer from bed directly into her wheelchair without having to be lifted up by mum.
Lisa said: “Not only will the bed be comfier and safer for Jessica at night, but the equipment will also help me care for her.”
M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Staffordshire and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 200 pieces of essential equipment, totalling more than £630,000 for disabled children in local communities across the UK.
Jacquie Leonard, Community Programme Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment. We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”
Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife Foundation, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK. Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”
Newlife has helped provide £518,091 of equipment for 428 under-19s in Lancashire. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 16 families in the county with equipment needs totalling £24,967.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Lancashire go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/lancashire. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Lancashire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Jessica Price