A poorly two-year-old girl is now able to get out and about in comfort with her family, thanks to help from a children’s charity.
Olivia McMurdy, who lives with her parents Amy and Simon and her big brother Kian in Bromham, developed seizures from the day she was born, which continue despite medication.
Her immunity is low, which means she suffers frequent respiratory infections and little Olivia, who is blind, also has poor head control and cannot use her arms or legs.
A year ago, local statutory services provided Olivia with a wheelchair but this didn’t meet her complex needs so the family were awarded a voucher for almost £1,500 towards the cost of a specialist buggy costing a total of £4,088.
Faced with a shortfall of more than £2,500, the McMurdys turned to UK children’s disability charity, Newlife Foundation, for help to get the equipment Olivia needed to be comfortable and properly supported.
Dad Simon said: “We struggled through the year, but it was obvious the wheelchair wasn’t right for Olivia. It had a seat specially moulded to her body due to her scoliosis but then there wasn’t enough support for her head and there weren’t any side supports so her arms just hung down.”
The McMurdys had originally found out about the Newlife Foundation through talking to other families of disabled children in Bedfordshire – and the charity had previously provided a specialist rear-facing car seat for Olivia.
“Thanks to Newlife, Olivia now has equipment that is fit for purpose,” said Simon. “Olivia needs to be facing us so we can monitor her condition, but the seat can be turned to face out which is fantastic because it means she can be wheeled to join us at a table. It is comfortable for her for longer periods and tilts so we can change her when we are out.
“The buggy also has built-in holders for her oxygen cylinder, suction machine and emergency medication bag. And it has additional protection so we can take her out whatever the weather – no more gaffer-taping an umbrella to the wheelchair!”
Newlife is currently working with the families of a further three disabled children in Bedfordshire, with equipment needs totalling £7,689.
To donate or raise money to help local disabled and terminally ill children contact the fundraising team on 0800 988 4640.