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Six-year-old Dylan Murphy loves to bounce and displays repetitive behaviours that can lead to breakages around the home. Unfortunately, this has meant his parents have had to scrap a multitude of beds and he is currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

Dylan, from Watford in Hertfordshire, has a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and no awareness of danger.

Mum Nicolle Murphy said: “Over recent years we have spent so much money on beds. Dylan likes to bounce – it is a pacifying mechanism for him – and he has broken numerous beds beyond any hope of repair. With Dylan currently sleeping on the floor for his own safety, I started researching tougher, special needs beds but was shocked to discover how expensive they are.”

She added: “It seems that when it comes to equipment for special needs children you have to pay through the nose – the specialist tough bed we need costs over £1,000.”

The price shock (£1,012) prompted Nicolle to turn to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help. Newlife had previously helped the family by providing a specialist car seat for Dylan. Nicolle said: “That car seat has literally changed our lives. Before we had it, it wasn’t unusual for Dylan to get out of his standard seat and start climbing over the driver or unfasten his younger brother’s car seat harness too. So we didn’t go out too far or too often. Now, thanks to Newlife, we can travel with peace of mind and even go on the motorway!”

Newlife is the UK’s leading children’s disability charity and has funded 79 equipment grants in Hertfordshire totalling £121,909. Recognising the urgent need for a specialist bed for Dylan, Newlife nurses have given the go-ahead for his equipment.

However, the charity is currently working with a total of four families of disabled and terminally ill children in Hertfordshire, with equipment needs of £13,200. So Newlife is appealing for ‘local heroes’ to come forward to fundraise or donate towards the cost of specialist equipment for children in the county.

For instance, Newlife supporters can choose to take on a sponsored sporting challenge, host a coffee morning or cake sale, make and sell handcrafted goods, organise a pub quiz or community car wash, hold a sponsored silence or stage an evening of entertainment.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children – and donors can ring-fence their money to a specific county.”

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: Dylan Murphy.

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