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THE POWER TO OPEN UP A WORLD OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES

A powered wheelchair will open up a world of new opportunities for Brentwood teenager Katie Ben-Aderet and her family.

Katie, aged 17, has Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy and Global Developmental Delay which results in challenging behaviours. She relies on a wheelchair for mobility outside her Ingrave home and desperately needs a powered model to give her more opportunities to get out and about, both at college and with her family.

Mum Jane Ben-Aderet said: “Katie is tall and heavy to push over anything except flat ground; even small slopes are very difficult. However, the main issue is her behavioural problems. In her existing wheelchair when she doesn’t want to go somewhere she just puts her feet on the floor and you have to stop or risk breaking her ankles. You’re stuck. So I can’t take her out on my own any more. She is also missing out on experiences at Columbus College in Chelmsford, where she will be a student for another two years.”

The £5,539 powered wheelchair would make travelling uphill easier and could be tilted to raise Katie’s feet off the floor. It would also have an option to allow her directional control, and therefore give Katie limited independence.

Mum Jane added: “Katie has been able to trial one of these wheelchairs and it was obvious that she was having a lovely time discovering that she could choose where she wanted to go.”

Because Katie can walk a few short steps within her home, with the use of leg splints, she does not meet local statutory services’ criteria for a powered wheelchair. So the family turned to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help.

Newlife offers a range of practical support services, all accessed through its Nurse Helpline – freephone 0800 902 0095. In 2013/14 alone, the charity awarded 1,303 Equipment Grants totalling £2,088,105 to help disabled and terminally ill children throughout the UK. However, demand on Newlife services is increasing as statutory services’ budget cuts continue.

Newlife is appealing to ‘local heroes’ to come forward and donate or fundraise to help a disabled or terminally ill child in their county – with every penny going directly to fund vital equipment.

If you think you can help the Ben-Aderet family, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640 or email [email protected]. Any money raised surplus to requirements for Katie would be used to fund essential equipment for other children in Essex.

Newlife is currently working with six families in the county, with equipment needs totalling £19,146.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Can you help us in our work to really change children’s lives

To find out more about Newlife’s range of equipment grant and loan support services, call the Nurse Helpline on freephone 0800 902 0095 or email [email protected].

Pictured: Katie Ben-Aderet

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