WHEN a 13-year-old Broadway girl’s health deteriorated rapidly, her family turned to a Midlands-based charity for help. Observer editor Rob George found out about the charity which helps families who ‘Just Can’t Wait’.
ALIKI Vlachos, a pupil at the Vale of Evesham School, has a severe neurological disorder which affects her learning and mobility.
And when the teenager took a turn for the worse, her family were faced with a race against time to get her the wheelchair she needed to tackle her changing condition.
Aliki’s hospice support worker suggested the family contact Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, and a suitable wheelchair – while she waited for permanent provision – was delivered days later.
Her mum Julie said: “Aliki has had a big deterioration recently and is now receiving palliative care. “Her old wheelchair just wasn’t suitable any more – she started to get curvature of the spine – but we were told it would take six months to get a
replacement through wheelchair services.”
“Newlife was quick to respond to our needs and the interim wheelchair has been fantastic for Aliki. “Without it she would have had a very uncomfortable and isolating few months while we waited for a new one to arrive.
“It has corrected her posture and helped with her breathing and swallowing, so that now Aliki can spend more time at school.”
The wheelchair loan was provided through Newlife’s emergency equipment loan service Just Can’t Wait (JCW), which aims to get essential support such as wheelchairs, buggies, specialist beds, seating and portable hoists to the homes of life-
limited children within 72 hours.
JCW was launched as a pilot in 2011 but in the last financial year (2013/14) saw demand for emergency equipment loans soar by 88 per cent.
This swift provision allows children leaving hospital to be cared for by their families at home; replaces unsafe or unsuitable equipment; offers equipment where there is none and reacts to sudden and serious changes in children’s conditions.
Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson said: “Our ‘fast track’ option is there because children’s needs are so wide and varied.
“And, within statutory services procedures, there isn’t always the facility for families to access equipment quickly.”
Since 2005, the charity has provided 111 grants to families of disabled and terminally ill children in Worcestershire totalling
£224,572 out of a UK total of more than £11million.
The charity is currently working with two families in Worcestershire and is always looking for volunteers fund-raisers.
Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fund-raising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance and 100 per cent of every donation will go directly towards providing equipment for children in Worcestershire.
Donations or further donations can be made on 0800 988 4640 or call 0800 902 0095 or e-mail [email protected] for more information about the charity’s equipment services.
Visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @Newlifecharity or Facebook at www.facebook.com/newlifefoundation for more information.