Otley mum Sherri Downes desperately needed a specialist buggy so she could take her disabled son Cory out and about in safety. She asked her local statutory services for help, but when they said ‘no’ she didn’t know where else to turn.
Fortunately for Sherri, Cory’s Occupational Therapist put her in touch with leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation – and the equipment she needed arrived just two days later.
One-year-old Cory has a combination of conditions which affect his body control and joints and means he has little independent mobility. He is fed through a tube in his stomach and suffers severe reflux and vomiting. He also needs regular emergency suctioning to keep his airways clear.
Sherri said: “Cory is prone to stopping breathing and, because he is a very quiet child, it was difficult to monitor this when I took him out in a regular pushchair which faced away from me. The specialist buggy faces towards me so I can keep a close eye on Cory when I am pushing him. It also has the postural support he needs because of his condition and will accommodate his suctioning equipment, feed and emergency bags and, potentially, oxygen.”
“Having the right equipment means that we are able to go out more as a family and I am also able to take my five-year-old son Austin out to parks without the worry of it being too much for Cory.”
The buggy was provided through Newlife’s emergency equipment loan service Just Can’t Wait, which supports life-limited children and aims to deliver equipment within 72 hours. Newlife has a suite of equipment – wheelchairs, buggies, beds, seating and portable hoists – which can be rapidly dispatched for a loan period of around six months.
Newlife has been working with Cory’s statutory services in an attempt to secure permanent provision. Wheelchair services have put £1,995 towards a buggy for Cory, and Newlife has now funded the remaining £1,351 through an Equipment Grant.
In 2013/14 Newlife awarded 1,303 Equipment Grants to children around the UK, at a cost of £2,088,105; 128 of these grants were in Yorkshire, where (since 2005) the charity has funded a total of £784,751 of equipment including a specialist car seat for Cory to keep him safe on journeys to hospital and clinic appointments. In addition, Newlife has provided 20 Just Can’t Wait emergency loans of equipment to families of terminally ill and life-limited children in the county.
Sherri added: “Newlife has been brilliant. The pushchair gives me peace of mind when we are out because I can see what Cory is doing and the car seat means he has the extra postural support he needs, especially for his head.
Newlife is currently working with the families of another eight children in West Yorkshire, with equipment needs totalling £27,936 (23 children across the entire county) and demands on the charity’s resources are increasing.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As a charity we are looking increasingly to ‘local heroes’ to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in West Yorkshire can be ring-fenced to provide essential equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in that part of the county.”
If you think you can help a disabled or terminally ill child in West Yorkshire, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; alternatively go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk
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