When 18-year-old Megan Cooper from Chichester is admitted to hospital she has to sleep on a mattress on the floor or in a chair.
Despite the great care Megan receives from dedicated nurses, often their hands are tied when it comes to providing a safe place for Megan to sleep. To help, Megan’s mum, Emma Taylor, spent the last ten years fundraising for a Safespace bed for the children’s ward at the local hospital, but now Megan is 18 she can’t use it and must stay in an adult ward.
Although she’s now an adult Megan has the mental age of a toddler and has Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Epilepsy. She is entitled to one night respite care each week, however the adult care centre that she must now attend doesn’t have a suitable bed so she can’t go. But now, thanks to a partnership between Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children and Marks and Spencer, Megan will soon have a £2,899 specialist travel bed to keep her safe whenever she is away from home.
Mum Emma said: “Megan used to have 40 to 50 seizures a day and although controlled by three different types of medication there’s always the risk they’ll suddenly stop working.
“She has a specialist Safespace bed at home, but in hospital there’s nothing suitable. I need to watch her constantly; she has absolutely no concept of danger and pulls out wires and plugs within her reach and can seriously injure herself.”
Emma added: “Having a travel Safespace means Megan could go to hospital and respite and be safe – which is all we want! The only time I get a good night’s sleep is when she is at respite care, and as things were, I was scared I would never have another proper night’s sleep again.
“Having a Safespace would also mean we can go on a short break as a family – something we haven’t been able to do for over ten years.”
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 Staffordshire 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 260 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £850,000 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.”
Newlife has helped provide £109,147 of equipment for more than 103 children in West Sussex. Right now, the charity is currently working with another four families in West Sussex with equipment needs totalling £8,672. To find out how you could help a child near you, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/westsussex. Alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team on 01543 462777 or email [email protected].
Newlife Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan added: “The UK has more disabled children than ever before – and our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children. It’s an outrage that families have to ‘battle’ local services and yet still face heart-breaking refusals. The support of organisations like M&S means we can change lives across the UK every day.”
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in West Sussex will be used to specifically help local children with disabilities and terminal illness.