Two-year-old Tehya Furley, from Parkstone in Poole, got a special birthday surprise this week, thanks to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation and dedicated donors in Dorset.
Tehya – who has retinal blastoma, Global Developmental Delay and a chromosomal abnormaility – received the specialist sensory play and learning aids she so desperately needs in time for second birthday today (Wednesday 12 September).
Mum Tammy Furley said: “Tehya lost one eye at three months old, and shortly after that we found out she had a tumour in her other eye. She has undergone laser surgery and chemotherapy but has now lost her vision.
“When it comes to playing, Tehya is quite isolated. She needs specialist sensory toys to help bring her out of herself and make her work a bit harder to engage with the world around her.”
The toys and learning aids that she needed cost £653, so Tammy turned to Newlife Foundation for help with funding. Newlife has invested £59,496 in disability equipment for 53 children in Dorset, for items ranging from specialist beds, buggies and wheelchairs to standing frames, portable hoists and communication aids.
Newlife issued a county media appeal and the charity has been overwhelmed by the generosity of Dorset residents who have contributed £562.50 towards the appeal.
Tammy Furley said: “I would love to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped – I am so grateful to Newlife and to all those individuals who contributed to the appeal.
“It takes her a while to get used to new things, but Tehya is really loving the musical toys and aids which seem to soothe her, particularly when she is getting grizzly. My neighbour heard her out in the garden and thought we had bought some wind chimes. I was really proud to be able to tell them that it was Tehya making the music herself. It’s such a big step forward for her.
“Access to sensory equipment at home is very important for Tehya’s development but so expensive to buy, which is why this equipment grant from Newlife has helped so much.”
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Dorset residents have proved themselves to be both caring and generous, helping our charity to fund several items of essential equipment for disabled children in the county this summer. However, we are experiencing hugely increased demands on our resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 81 per cent, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website https://newlifecharity.co.uk. We are currently working with a further two families in Dorset, with equipment needs totalling £8,929.
If you think you can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.
Pictured: Tehya Furley with her new sensory equipment.