Latest Newlife News


Eleven-year-old Lucas Spicer, from South Ockendon in Essex, is getting a sleep system that is vital in managing his complex condition – thanks to the support of the River Island fashion store chain for Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children.

Lucas has a rare condition that affects his development and mobility. This, combined with epilepsy and scoliosis, means it is vital that he is posturally supported at all times to help prevent further health issues.

At home Lucas sleeps in a profiling hospital-style bed; this keeps his head raised at an angle to help reduce reflux and the risk of choking. He also uses a specialist sleep system, which is a set of soft wedges and pads that keep his body straight. He is now getting a duplicate sleep system to use when he receives regular respite care at Hamelin House in Billericay.

Mum Laura O’Callaghan explained: “Keeping him in line helps reduce the reflux and stops his body from twisting over to the left. Lucas has always had a tendency to bend to the left, but he hasn’t got the body control to straighten up. So the sleep system is vital to his future health and mobility.”

Due to the increasing demand on Newlife resources in Essex, the charity launched a media appeal for help with funding. Now River Island has stepped forward to pay the outstanding balance of £682.

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. It has supported 301 children in Essex, with equipment totalling £361,968.

Lucas’s postural needs are being supported by River Island with funding from the in-store sale of 5p carrier bags. This has so far resulted in £500,000 for Newlife and the fantastic plastic initiative has helped babies, children and young people all over the UK get the essential equipment they need for everyday life.

To find out more about how Newlife supports families of disabled and terminally ill children in the county, go to: Newlife offers a range of equipment services – Equipment Grants make permanent provision; Emergency Equipment Loans provide a quick response for families of life-limited and terminally ill children and those sleeping in unsafe environments; Play Therapy Pod Loans give sensory support; Comfort Capsules help families of terminally ill children make memories.

Right now, Newlife is working with a further 25 families in Essex, with combined equipment needs of £14,525. If you think you could help, go to the website and Donate. Alternatively, call the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 – or email