Bromley girl with Down syndrome needs life-saving buggy after open-heart surgery

A disabled children’s charity is appealing urgently for help to fund vital equipment for 41 children, including a six-year-old girl from Bromley with Down syndrome.

Six-year-old Katherine McCann is in urgent need of a specialist buggy costing £735 – contributing £52,000 worth of equipment to the Newlife charity’s waiting list.

Katherine, from Bromley, has had open-heart surgery which has delayed her development and low muscle tone which makes her easily fatigued and unable to walk far – but the buggy she relies on to get around is now far too small and damaged .

The buggy is at breaking point, leaving her family fearful of being limited in where she can go and what she can do, with no way to protect her when she’s outside.

Katherine and her three sisters

Katherine’s hospital appointments are often in London and without a proper buggy it will become very difficult to get there as she finds the crowded places and busy situations downright overwhelming.

Since she has no awareness of danger, she will either try to run away – potentially into traffic – or fall to the ground, refusing to move.

As she grows, it is physically too difficult to pick her up and carry her to protect her.

Clare, mum-of-four, said: ‘We contacted our local wheelchair services for help – we need something that can be used in different places – but they had nothing suitable and the only wheelchair they can provide for Katherine can only really be used on smooth, flat surfaces, so we turned to Newlife.

“Without the help of Newlife, families of disabled children will usually have to settle for something that is not suitable for them, which makes everyday life all the more difficult.

“Without the right equipment, our lives will be more restricted.

“As a parent of a child with a disability, you often have to compromise; you have to fight for everything, all the time, which can be exhausting.”

The whole family loves country walks in the fresh air and Katherine loves being outdoors with mum, Clare, dad, William and her sisters Abigail, eight, Audrey, seven and Ruth, four.

It’s a way to exercise and improve the mental health and well-being of the whole family – but without a suitable stroller, Katherine would be limited in her ability to participate.

Newlife is now appealing to communities in the South East to help fund the equipment children with disabilities desperately need for everyday life.

He can only help Katherine and the other children on the waiting list if he can raise the necessary funds.

Newlife Founder and CEO Sheila Brown said: “We often hear of children being left without vital equipment, including specialist beds, wheelchairs, seats and walkers, due to bureaucracy, lists waiting or the lack of adequate equipment.

“Being forced to go without means children with disabilities are at serious risk of injury, trapped in hospital awaiting discharge, unable to fulfill their true potential or, tragically, unable to find solace in the last months of their lives, even having their condition – and the pain – worsen unnecessarily.

“For many families contacting Newlife is a last resort and as a charity we do all we can to fund equipment that is often described as ‘life changing’.

“We urgently need help to do this.”

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