Six-year-old Alexander McConville gets to spend more time at the heart of family life, now he has a specialist comfy chair to help meet his complex health needs.
Alex, from Coleshill in Warwickshire, has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy combined with chronic lung disease and developmental delay. He has a tracheostomy in place to help him breathe and is reliant on oxygen 24/7.
Until the specialist chair arrived, he spent much of his time in bed, in his own bedroom. Dad Tony McConville said: “He is a sociable little boy – he likes to be the centre of attention – so it’s nice to have him in the living room with us when we are all at home. It gives him more opportunity to play with his twin sister Talitha.”
Mum Steph McConvillie added: “Instead of spending so much time in his bed away from us, he can now be at the heart of family life. Because it is portable, Alex will even be able to use the seat outside when the weather is nice.”
Specialist postural seating is vital for Alex because he has no head or body control and the equipment helps manage the risk of his spine deteriorating. The chair has been particularly helpful for Alex, offering somewhere other than his bed in which to recover from a broken femur, which may have been caused by his posture.
The chair was provided through an Emergency Equipment Loan from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Steph said: “Once our occupational therapist had contacted Newlife, the equipment arrived really quickly.”
Emergency Equipment Loans provide a quick response for children with unstable, life-threatening or life-limiting illness and to help those who face injury due to the absence of appropriate equipment. Items available through this service include wheelchairs, buggies, beds, seating and portable hoists and Newlife aims to respond within 72 hours.
This is one of a range of Newlife services: Equipment Grants fund a wide range of permanent practical support; Play Therapy Pods involve the loan of sensory toys to aid the development of those with complex needs; Newlifeable takes redundant equipment and refurbishes it to meet national standards. For details of all services go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk or call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).
The charity has funded £232,965 of equipment for 203 children in Warwickshire and is currently working with a further seven families with additional equipment needs totalling £6,999. To find out how you could help make a difference to the life of a local disabled child, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/warwickshire. Alternatively, call the Newlife County Liaison team on 01543 431 444 or email [email protected]
Pictured: Alex with his twin sister Talitha.