Milton Keynes girl Zara Imran will soon be able to travel in comfort and safety thanks to a specialist car seat donated by Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.
Zara, who is three years old, has a condition called Early Infantile Epileptic Encephalopathy (EIEE) and developmental delay. She has no independent mobility and has to be lifted and carried by her parents, who use a buggy to get her out and about. Having outgrown her standard car seat, and with no larger equipment available in mainstream stores, the family needed a specialist car seat to keep Zara properly positioned and safe for journeys to hospital and clinic appointments as well as family outings.
Mum Shaista Imran said: “As Zara gets bigger it has become harder to transfer her in and out of the car. The specialist car seat has a swivel base, to make this easier, and improved padding, a footrest and a five-point harness to keep her properly positioned as well as a tilt feature so Zara’s head will no longer flop forwards.”
With no funding available through statutory services for the £2,665 seat, the family turned to Newlife Foundation, the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Shaista added: “We had no idea how costly the equipment would be so we are very grateful to Zara’s occupational therapist who recommended Newlife.”
M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife Foundation for the last 11 years, donating returned products to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Cannock, 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 more than 200 pieces of essential equipment, totalling around £600,000 for children with disabilities and terminal illness across the UK.
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 is the UK’s leading children’s disability charity that works closely with families to provide a range of services and essential equipment for children with disabilities and life-limiting conditions across the UK.