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SIMPLE PIECE OF SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT COULD OPEN UP A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES

A simple piece of specialist equipment could open up a world of opportunities for teenager Jack Baird.

Jack, who is 14 and lives with his parents and twin sister in Edinburgh, has Hypertonic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. This means he has limited mobility and needs to use a special hoist every time he needs to get in and out of his wheelchair.

The family has a hoist fitted to ceiling tracking which allows Jack to be moved in some parts of their home, but struggle to move Jack elsewhere.

Mum Julie Ward said: “Up until last year I was still able to lift Jack on my own, but I have been diagnosed with a spinal problem which means I can’t do that any more. That means taking Jack out – even into the garden – without my husband around to lift him poses difficulties.”

The family needs a specialist portable hoist that can be placed in the boot of their car and taken to friends and family members’ homes and for use when they go on days out.

Julie said: “Having a portable hoist would make a huge difference. For instance, Jack would be able to spend more time with his grandparents who are in their 70s, days out and family holidays would become easier . . . even the simplest of things like climbing into our bed for a cuddle on a Sunday morning or going sledging with his sister would be easier to manage.”

Local statutory services have already provided the family with the ceiling track hoist, so funding for this equipment is not available. This has prompted the family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help in securing the £784 portable hoist.

Jack’s is one of three families in the city currently working with the charity, with equipment needs totalling £11,709.

Last year (2013/14) alone the charity awarded 1,303 Equipment Grants to children around the UK totalling £2,088,105 – a 33 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period. Newlife Operations Manager Stephen Morgan said: “Demands on our range of practical support services are growing as statutory services’ budgets suffer further cuts. As a result we are increasingly looking to ‘local heroes’ to help fund vital equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in their own areas.”

If you would like to donate or fundraise to help a child in Edinburgh get the equipment they need, call the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines) or email [email protected].

To find out more about Newlife’s range of equipment grant and loan support services, call the Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines) or email [email protected]; alternatively go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk

Pictured: Jack Baird

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