A simple piece of specialist equipment means young Charlie Godfrey is travelling to hospital and clinic appointments in safety.
Charlie, aged six, is from West Hull. He has the neurological condition Lennox Gaustaut Syndrome, as well as autism and developmental delay. He has frequent daily seizures which sometimes result in a dash to hospital for stabilisation. He has limited mobility but has no awareness of danger and would easily get out of a regular car seat and seat belt, putting himself, and others, at risk of injury.
Although his family don’t have a car of their own, transport via friends and family and taxis was becoming more and more difficult so a specialist car seat was recommended. Unlike standard car seats, these are costly and the family did not have the £753 needed – so they contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of a wide range of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. It has funded over £1.6million of specialist car seats.
Charlie’s mum April Godfrey said: “On a ‘meltdown’ day he would try to get out of the car or taxi while we were driving along, which was really dangerous. If he had a seizure his head would flop forwards and the seat belt would catch across his neck, which wasn’t safe either.”
She added: “It was a bit of a shock to find out how much a specialist car seat would cost so Charlie’s disability social worker recommended Newlife.
“Charlie’s new car seat is great for him – it has additional side and head supports and reclines so his head can’t slump forward and he can recover from a seizure in comfort. It also comes with a special five-point harness which he can’t undo, so that adds to the safety.
“He really loves the car seat. As soon as he sees it he knows he is going out – and he’s a real outdoor boy so it’s great for getting him around, not only for hospital appointments.”
Charlie was helped with funds from the Newlife East Riding of Yorkshire Fund which supports equipment provision for under-19s in the county area facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness. The website – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/eastridingofyorkshire – enables local people to find out who needs help in the area right now and highlights the support given to local families. Newlife has already helped 110 children in the East Riding of Yorkshire, providing equipment totalling £124,388 – but more help is still needed. Newlife is currently working with another family in the county with equipment needs of £240.
For more information about the Newlife East Riding of Yorkshire Fund, go to the website listed above, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444.
Pictured: Charlie Godfrey.