On a bad day little Ollie Meredith can have up to 70 seizures. These are so severe they have caused brain damage and at times he doesn’t immediately regain consciousness. When he was a baby mum could carry him around, but at age three they need a safe and supportive mobile seat so he can move around the house with his family.
Ollie, from Palmerston in Barry, is unable to talk and has problems with his muscles which means he can’t walk or sit up on his own. At home he has nowhere to sit where he is safe and supported enough to be comfortable. As his parents, Sophie and Sean Meredith, never know when a seizure may strike, it means he needs to be constantly monitored. However, a specialist seat called a P-Pod would make a huge difference.
Sophie said: “The P-Pod would keep him safe and really comfortable – and that’s what any parent wants for their child.”
With the equipment having wheels, Ollie could be taken all around his home. This means Sophie could also look after six-year-old Summer, cook a meal or even answer the door, all while keeping Ollie with her. However, the P-Pod costs £1,494, which is beyond the family budget. In desperation they turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help – Newlife is the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment.
Newlife wants to give Ollie the P-Pod seat he needs and is appealing to local people to help raise the funds. You can help Ollie by visiting www.newlifecharity.co.uk/valeofglamorgan or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462777.
Mum Sophie said: “We knew something was wrong as soon as Ollie was born, he had unusual features and couldn’t swallow, so he didn’t feed properly. After the seizures began, he lost some of the skills he had developed, such as being able to sit up and say a few words. We fought for a diagnosis and eventually were told he had Pallister Killian Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that only around 200 people in the world are thought to have.
“He is happy and smiley all the time and loves me to sing to him, I have even sung to him when he has a seizure, but it doesn’t help him. There’s nothing I can physically do for him during one, which is hard, especially as he can’t talk so he gives me his ‘help me’ eyes. Sometimes we have to rush him to hospital for rescue medication. During one stay they had to give him this every 15 minutes. It can be a lot to cope with, but I just want to help him as much as I can.
“Ollie uses a P-Pod when he goes to the hospice for respite care and it makes a really big difference to him – he’s much more relaxed. He can kick his legs out and wave his arms about without restriction, but he has the support his posture needs and if he has a seizure we know he’s safe and can’t hurt himself.”
Newlife Head of Operations Stephen Morgan said: “There are now more disabled children in the UK than ever before. Without Newlife, thousands would simply go without the equipment they need, but Newlife can’t do this alone. Please help us to help our disabled and terminally ill children.”
Know that every penny you give will genuinely be used to save and change young lives in Glamorgan. Any money raised over and above what is needed for Ollie will be used to provide specialist equipment for other disabled and terminally ill children in Glamorgan.
Pictured: Ollie Meredith