Little Rhys Sullivan, from Heathfield in East Sussex, is being featured in a BBC Radio 4 charity appeal in December.
Rhys, who is now 17 months old, spent the first nine months of his life in hospital due to the genetic disorder Di George Syndrome. He wasn’t allowed home until his parents could prove they could get him safely to and from his many medical appointments – and for this they needed a costly specialist pushchair, which statutory services couldn’t fund.
Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children stepped in to provide a sophisticated buggy that holds the ventilator, tracheostomy box, suction machine and manual resuscitator that Rhys needs wherever he goes.
Now Newlife – the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – has been selected for a prestigious Radio 4 charity appeal.
And TV presenter Jon Bentley – who presents Channel 5’s innovative The Gadget Show – will be the ‘voice’ of Newlife for the appeal on Sunday 13 December.
Birmingham-born Jon was producer of BBC’s Top Gear for 12 years before launching Channel 5’s Fifth Gear. Since 2004 he has been a presenter for The Gadget Show, which is now in its 22nd series. On a recent tour of Newlife’s charity headquarters in Cannock, Staffordshire, Jon said: “I find it truly exceptional how Newlife offers invaluable free help which transforms the lives of children with disabilities and terminal illness and their families.”
With the appeal going out during the festive season, Jon will tell listeners how there are other children just like Rhys, whose parents desperately want them home too. So it is important Newlife has the resources to help.
Newlife National Head of Fundraising Michael Bolton said: “The weekly Radio 4 charity appeal regularly gets 2.3million listeners, and we are delighted to have been chosen to follow in the footsteps of organisations like Comic Relief, WellChild, Epilepsy Research UK and the Rainbow Trust. Appeals in 2014 raised a combined £720,000 – so we are looking forward to being able to support more families around the UK as a result of our very own appeal.”
The broadcast will take place on BBC Radio 4 – FM 92.4 to 94.6, LW 198 and bbc.co.uk/radio4/appeal – on Sunday 13 December at 07:55 and 21:26 and be repeated on Thursday 17 December at 15:27.
Pictured: Rhys Sullivan