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Four-year-old Thomas Ward from York is finally sleeping through the night in safety – thanks to provision of a specialist bed.

Thomas, from the Wigginton area of the city, has a rare genetic condition that causes tumours to develop in his body, with associated epilepsy and global developmental delay. While Thomas is mobile, he has difficulties with co-ordination and balance – and no awareness of danger.

To keep him safe at night, Thomas had been sleeping in a low bed, but frequent falls from this regularly woke him up. Mum Philippa Ward said: “Because Thomas doesn’t recognise the difference between day and night, he would sit up for hours playing and getting frustrated because he was tired.”

Realising their son needed specialist support, Philippa and her husband David contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

As a result, Thomas has now been given a specialist £2,785 bed that will ensure his comfort and safety for several years. The family also made a contribution towards the equipment.

Philippa said: “The bed is a success – big time! The first few nights we had it Thomas slept right through – and that hadn’t ever happened before. Now, if he does wake up, we know he is comfortable and safe even if he has a seizure.”

She added: “Thomas is very happy in his new bed.”

Through equipment grants and loans Newlife has supported 247 families in North Yorkshire, with expenditure totalling £207,917. Right now, there are a further eight families in North Yorkshire with equipment needs of £3,792. If you would like to find out how you could help other children in the area like Thomas – or just want more information about Newlife Foundation – go to: Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email

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

Pictured: Thomas Ward