Sitting in the same position hour after hour causes four-year-old Harry Dodsworth to have painful muscles, which frequently go into agonising and uncontrollable spasms.
Unable to walk, sit up or support his own head, Harry needs round the clock care, but without a specialist seat in his Nottinghamshire home he’s forced to spend all his time in his wheelchair.
But because he needs to sit securely and with extra support for his pelvis, head and spine, he can’t even sit on the family sofa to find relief.
Harry, from Broxtowe, was born prematurely after just 24 weeks of pregnancy. His family were then told he had a brain injury causing severe development delay. He’s also profoundly deaf and unable to speak, is fed by tube into his tummy and has chronic lung disease, which often leads to pneumonia, so being propped up in the right position is vital to help him breathe more easily.
Although Nottinghamshire health service gave Harry a moulded seat it’s too uncomfortable for him to use and leaves marks on his skin. A specialist seat called a P Pod would relieve pressure on his body, provide the extra support he needs to be comfortable and keep him in the right position to help his lungs, but the family have been told there’s no health or social care funding for this.
Now Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is urgently calling on the local community to help fund the £1,380 seat Harry needs as quickly as possible.
Harry lives with his aunt, Jodie Dodsworth, who said: “After sitting in his wheelchair for hours, unable to change position, his muscles become painful and jerk violently. He’s distressed, but the only other safe place we have for him is his hospital style bed, which would leave him isolated.
”Harry desperately needs somewhere else to sit so he can have a change of position, but still be safe. A P Pod would be ideal – it’s really comfortable with soft material and it would give him all the extra support his body needs. It also has a harness to keep him safe and secure and because he’s propped up it will help his lungs and would be the ideal place for him to have his tube feeds too.
“The seat is portable so Harry could be more involved in everything going on at home. It even comes with a tray so he could play by himself without someone having to physically hold toys for him. It would give him a bit of independence and help him play with his cousins who often visit.”
Newlife’s Senior Manager for Care Services, Carrick Brown, said: “No one would expect an able bodied person to go the entire day without changing position – and yet Harry is expected to. Harry has very complex needs and a specialist, supportive seat would provide a comfortable place to sit and rest at home which would really improve his quality of life.
Unfortunately, as much as we want to help Harry and his family, we simply don’t have the funds to buy the equipment right now. So we are desperately appealing to the local community for help to raise the money so Harry can get some much needed relief.”
STOP PRESS: Thanks to a great community effort and lots of media support we have now raised enough money for Harry’s specialist buggy.
However, you can still donate to help the other 53 children on our waiting list in the East Midlands who need £71,299 of specialist equipment. If you are able to help please call 01543 431 444, visit the website at https://newlifecharity.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.