Eleven-year-old Lucas Spicer has a rare condition that affects his development and mobility. This, combined with epilepsy and scoliosis, means it is vital that he is posturally supported at all times to help prevent further health issues.
He sleeps in a profiling hospital-style bed at his home in South Ockendon in Essex. This keeps Lucas’s head raised at an angle to help reduce reflux and the risk of choking. He also uses a specialist sleep system, which is a set of soft wedges and pads that keep his body straight. Mum Laura O’Callaghan explained: “Keeping him in line helps reduce the reflux and stops his body from twisting over to the left. Lucas has always had a tendency to bend to the left, but he hasn’t got the body control to straighten up. So the sleep system is vital to his future health and mobility.”
Lucas now attends Hamelin House in Billericay two days and nights each month, and while the respite centre has the appropriate beds it doesn’t have a sleep system for him. So each time he stays Laura has to pack up his own bulky system into a series of large bags for transport with him.
She is hoping that ‘local heroes’ can help Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children fund a sleeping system – costing £724 – for use at Hamelin House.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. It has already supported 273 children in Essex, with equipment totalling £336,633. To find out more about how Newlife supports children in the county, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/essex
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “I know this is a busy time for families as they start thinking about the festive season, but I am urging ‘local heroes’ to spare a minute to consider how they could help improve a disabled child’s life this Christmas.”
Laura added: “Having a sleep system has changed Lucas’s life, helping to keep him mobile. Hamelin House has said it can store a second set of equipment, just for Lucas, which would make his regular visits there much easier for everyone – not least of all Lucas.”
If you would like to help Lucas, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/essex and click on the Donate button next to his story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email email@example.com. Any money raised over and above the amount required for Lucas’s sleep system will be used to help other children in Essex. Newlife is currently working with a total of 27 families in the county with equipment needs totalling £19,045.
Pictured: Lucas Spicer