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Teenager Darcy Wrigley has metal rods in her spine and pins in her hips following corrective surgery. In constant pain, it’s very difficult for her to be comfortable and relax, even when she is at home.

Darcy has Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and causes severe disability. The 16-year-old from East Hunsbury spends most of her day either sitting in her wheelchair, lying in bed or on the floor, which aggravates her hip pain. And the rods in her back means she can’t bend her spine so the family sofa isn’t suitable either, on the grounds of safety or comfort.

Her mum Kathryn Wrigley said: “She didn’t have anything that she could chill out and relax in and be with the rest of the family.”

But all of that has changed – thanks to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children which has provided Darcy with a specialist chair called a P-Pod.

Kathryn said: “Our local statutory services don’t provide funding for this sort of equipment – being able to relax in comfort isn’t enough of a ‘purpose’. Darcy’s occupational therapist told us about the specialist seating, but the price tag – £1,950 – was something we just couldn’t afford. Fortunately, Newlife was able to help.”

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has helped 249 families in Northamptonshire.

Kathryn said: “The day that Darcy was due to trial a PPod seat she was particularly unhappy because of her level of pain; we hadn’t had a smile from her at all. I almost cancelled the appointment but I realised that the PPod rep and our occupational therapist would already be on their way. When they arrived, Darcy was lifted into one of the seats – and we got the first smile of the day; she was even laughing!

“Her 14-year-old sister got so emotional watching the change in Darcy that she had to walk away so Darcy wouldn’t see her cry. We knew then that this is just what Darcy needs – it will massively improve her quality of life.”

Newlife’s Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan said: “It’s great that we are able to help Darcy, but right now Newlife has a further four disabled and terminally ill children in Northamptonshire in need of specialist equipment and must raise £2,528 to help them.”

He added: “We really want to help change the lives of these children and their families too, so we are calling on local individuals, groups, clubs and companies to get involved and support them too.”

  • The equipment for Darcy was funded through Newlife’s charity partnership with Central England Co-operative. During the five-year partnership Central England Co-operative colleagues and customers raised a total of £1.5million for Newlife, every penny of which is being directly used to provide specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children across the retailer’s trading area.