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SIMPLE PIECE OF SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT MEANS FIVE-YEAR-OLD CAN TRAVEL IN SAFETY

Five-year-old Reece Rogerson will soon be travelling in safety thanks to the donation of a specialist car seat from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with Marks and Spencer.

Reece, from Plains in North Lanarkshire, has Cerebral Palsy and Dystonia, which is a movement disorder that causes muscle spasms and contractions. Reece outgrew his original car seat and had to be cut out of it when the harness locking mechanism jammed. Mum Mary Rogerson said: “Reece’s occupational therapist came out to see if she could adjust the straps on the seat so we could get a bit more use out of it. But the harness jammed and she had to cut the straps to get him out. Now we don’t have a car seat at all so we can’t use the car.”

Reece is too big for a mainstream car seat and a booster wouldn’t offer him the postural support he needs. Mary said: “He has a tendency to flop forward, which can block his airway, so it is really important to keep him in the right position. A new, larger specialist car seat will do this with extra head and lateral supports – and a five-point harness to keep him secure.”

The new seat will also have a swivel base to help Mary and husband Gary get Reece safely in and out of the car.

Mary added: “I was worrying about how we were going to get Reece to hospital appointments, but now we can look forward to getting the new seat which will solve our problems.”

With the equipment costing £1,569 and no funding available through statutory services, the family turned for help to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

A partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer is now providing the equipment.

M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Cannock and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 200 pieces of essential equipment, totalling £630,000 for disabled children in local communities across the UK.

Jacquie Leonard, Community Programme Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment. We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”

Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife Foundation, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK. Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”

Newlife has helped provide £16,295 of equipment for 13 children in North Lanarkshire. To find out more about how Newlife supports families in the area go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/northlanarkshire. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected] – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in North Lanarkshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.

Pictured: Reece Rogerson

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