When you have three young children with autism and hyper-mobile joints, getting out and about can be difficult. Now Sarah Gent and husband Andrew, from Ossett near Wakefield, can look forward to fewer stressful trips out in the local community – thanks to provision of a specialist lightweight pushchair with buggyboard.
Children Noah, Millie and Oliver may have similar diagnoses, but they have very individual needs. While Noah, aged four, and toddler brother Oliver don’t like crowds and need to feel safe and enclosed when they are out, three-year-old Millie likes to be close to her parents and feel their touch.
Mum Sarah Gent said: “It currently needs two people to take the children out anywhere because we have been using two pushchairs, for the boys, and carrying Millie; she can only walk short distances because of her hypermobility.”
She added: “Getting the new lightweight special needs double buggy with a board to carry Millie when she is tired will be a life-saver for us because it will make everyday things like going to the shops or the park so much easier. Millie and Oliver are non-verbal, so if something is upsetting them they can’t tell us what it is; we have to guess. So knowing they will all be secure and comfortable, in their own way, with this new equipment will help. We don’t have a car, so it will be used daily.”
With the equipment costing £804, the family turned to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has supported 403 families in West Yorkshire with equipment totalling £462,611 (1,169 families supported, at a cost of £1,167,952, in Yorkshire as a whole).
Newlife has funded the equipment with help from local 21-year-old Nick Moore. He recently took part in a sponsored wing walk at speeds of up to 130mph to raise £1,001 for Newlife, £604 of which has gone towards the Gents’ buggy.
Nick is an assistant quantity surveyor with Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire, which has adopted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children as its charity of the year. Nick said: “Newlife does amazing work to support children with disabilities and terminal illness across the UK and funding from Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire, which is based in Wakefield, will be used to specifically provide specialist equipment for those in the county of Yorkshire.”
He added: “The wing walk was an amazing experience – it was pretty euphoric being up there seeing the world from a different angle. On a personal level, I am really happy to know that the money is going to help a local family in this way.”
Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire’s total fundraising target for the year is £15,000, which will help fund vital equipment like wheelchairs and walkers for mobility, beds and car seats for safety and communication aids to give children a voice.
Nick – whose love of motorbikes sees him compete in the East Midlands Racing Association 1,000cc ‘Superstock’ category – added: “There’s a difference between being alive and living and it is a fantastic opportunity to be able to enable someone else to make the most of their life by helping them get the equipment they need.”
Anne Bagshaw, sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire, comments: “We’re honoured to be working closely with Newlife Foundation this year to raise invaluable funds to help disabled children across Yorkshire. As a responsible homebuilder, who aims to build strong ties in the communities in which we build, there is nothing more important to us than to help charities, like Newlife Foundation, reach their goals and help as many people as they possibly can.”
To find out more about how Newlife helps families in your area, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/westyorkshire
Pictured1: Millie Gent
Pictured2: Nick Moore