Two-year-old Evalyn Carr, from Blidworth in Nottinghamshire, is getting a specialist buggy to support her complex medical needs, thanks to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.
Evalyn has Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and Sleep Apnoea as well as difficulties swallowing. She needs to be appropriately positioned at all times to minimise further health issues – and her current pushchair does not provide the right level of support.
Mum Michelle Carr said: “Postural support is a big issue at the moment. She has frequent spasms, especially if there are unexpected bumps when she is out in the pushchair. The specialist buggy has much better suspension, to minimise her spasms, as well as additional head, side and underarm supports and a pommel to prevent her from sliding down or slumping. In any normal buggy she can squeeze out of the straps, nearly strangling herself.
“This particular specialist buggy also has the option for the seat to be forward or parent facing, which is particularly important for Evalyn because of her sleep apnoea. She naps quite heavily when she is in a pushchair and I need the seat to be facing me so I can keep an eye on her condition. She is likely to have to be PEG fed (through a tube in her stomach) quite soon, so having the rear facing seat will help with this.”
The specialist buggy has built-in storage space for vital medical equipment like a sleep monitor and feeding bag, which will help the family get out and about.
Evalyn has trialled the buggy and, said Michelle: “She looked so grown up in it as she was able to actually sit up properly and interact with people more easily. With Evalyn starting pre-school in September, the buggy will play a vital part in school life – she will spend a few hours in it each day.”
With the equipment costing £3,303 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 £300,997 of equipment for 346 under-19s in Nottinghamshire. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 16 families in the county with equipment needs totalling £750.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Nottinghamshire go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/nottinghamshire. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – 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 Nottinghamshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Evalyn Carr