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National charity Newlife Foundation is making a stand for six-year old disabled child Poppy Ferguson.

Poppy, who lives with her parents and two sisters in County Down, Northern Ireland, was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. The little girl also has epilepsy and also has to cope with a tracheostomy tube to assist her breathing. Poppy has no active movement in her lower limbs but her upper body strength is strong enough for her to propel her wheelchair.

Despite all this, at six years old Poppy has a whole world waiting to be discovered, but she needs a special ‘stand-up’ walker which would enable her to propel herself around while in a standing position. This way she would be able to explore and socialise as any other six-year-old can.

But as Poppy already has a wheelchair, her family, from Newtownards, found she is not eligible for a walker from the local authority. Newlife has pledged to find the £1,763 needed. It’s a small price to pay to give a little girl some freedom to explore her world.

Her mum, Martina, said: “A standing frame is not only essential for Poppy’s independence and confidence it also has many medical benefits that could help prevent surgery to her legs in the future. This is something we’d all like to avoid given what she’s been through in the last six years.

“It will also enable her to interact with friends at home and allow her to join in with her sisters a lot more than she is able to at present. Poppy likes to feel included in the daily routine at home and having this stand-up walker will make this possible.”

Newlife has awarded £248,792  to fund 204 equipment grants for children in Northern Ireland. But the charity is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up and there are thousands more hits on the charity’s website

Newlife is currently working with four families in County Down alone, with equipment needs totalling £12,588.

“Because of the huge demand,” said Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, “we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund specialist equipment for children like Poppy. Newlife guarantees 100 per cent of all monies received will go directly to fund equipment for other children in Northern Ireland.”

If you think you can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

Pictured: Six-year-old Poppy Ferguson who is to get a special stand-up walker thanks to national charity Newlife Foundation.

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