Hanging out in the playground with your friends is so important for many children – but it’s not as much fun if you have to have the teacher with you at all times. That’s what life is like for nine-year-old Jacob Kennedy – he has Cerebral Palsy that affects all four of his limbs as well as his head control and most of the time he uses a wheelchair to get around. But using a walker allows Jacob his independence – if only he had one of his own.
Jacob, who lives in Camberley, Surrey, is allowed to use a walker belonging to his school when he is there, but must be supervised by a teacher at all times. Desperate for her son to have his independence, his mum, Kim, contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charitable provider of essential equipment to meet the needs of children with disabilities and terminal illness. The charity is working towards raising the £1893 needed for Jacob’s walker, but with more and more applications coming in, it is hoped that local fundraisers will be able to help.
Kim said: “At the moment, Jacob can use the walker at school – but that doesn’t allow him to be independent at playtime and we can’t bring it home with us for him to practise his walking and build his muscle strength and coordination. It would mean everything to Jacob to be able to have that independence – to be able to be with his friends on the same level and without a teacher there. He also loves watching sports and plays tag rugby in his wheelchair – perhaps he would be able to play this with a walker as well.”
In response to the growing demand for help in the area, Newlife launched the Newlife Surrey Fund, which so far has helped 310 children in the county, providing £360,154 of equipment. But there are still more children that need Newlife’s help, with 15 Surrey families currently waiting for equipment worth £3,087. The dedicated Newlife Surrey Fund gives local people the chance to help local children like Jacob, and every penny donated or fundraised in Surrey is guaranteed to support families in the county. The Newlife Surrey Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Newlife also guarantees that 100 percent of the of the money donated or fundraised for Jacob will go towards funding his walker and any surplus funds raised will go toward helping a disabled or terminally ill child within the Surrey area. Further information about the Newlife Hampshire Fund – and how specifically to donate or fundraise to help Jacob – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/surrey or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone donations can be made by calling 01543 462777.
Pictured: Jacob Kennedy