01 Jun Go Bananas Launch
THE lives of 10 disabled North East children could be changed forever thanks to the generosity of Go Bananas givers.
The £50,000 that The Chronicle Sunshine Fund hopes to raise during the annual June fundraising drive will go directly toward helping the youngsters, who suffer from a range of conditions including spina bifida, hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy, by providing specialist equipment to make their lives easier.
And if the final cash target is reached, there will also be money for The Percy Hedley Foundation, which provides services for hundreds more disabled youngsters across the region, who need £14,000 to buy 10 sport wheelchairs for its sports academy.
One of the individual children being helped by Go Bananas is seven-year-old Nieve Flint, of Ryton, Gateshead, who has epilepsy, scoliosis and the rare Rett Syndrome which affects development of the brain.
The Gibside School pupil’s family has asked for an all-terrain buggy, valued at £2,576, featuring a cushion, sun canopy, rain cover, headrest and support bars so Nieve can get out and about.
Mum Kristine said: “The family are very limited in where they can go as her wheelchair has to be pushed everywhere. This buggy will allow her to go out into the community – even to the beach!
“It also converts into a trailer so can be pulled by a bike, so we can have family bike rides.”
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Cameron Heeley, of Chester-le-Street, has global development delay, epilepsy and scoliosis, and is also being supported in June.
The Sunshine Fund wants to provide him with a powered wheelchair base and seating system worth a combined £6,000, providing an upgrade to his current manual wheelchair.
Newcastle seven-year-old Jack Gilbert-Ovens is in need of sensory equipment worth £1,280 to help him focus and stay calm in the face of cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cortical visual impairment.
The youngster already uses the equipment at school and his family are keen for him to receive the same help at home, particularly when trying to sleep.
Another of the 10 children to benefit is Elliot Caswell, of North Shields, who is 15 and suffers with cerebral palsy.
His family are keen for him to be able to go out with friends and have the same life as his teenage friends and they hope a £20,000 stand-up all-terrain wheelchair will give a new lease of life.
The youngest child included is little Thomas Scorer, aged just 11 months, who has arthrogryposis or curved joints, partial vocal palsy which affects his swallowing and breathing and epilepsy among other ailments.
His application is for specialist seating and table equipment priced at £650 for use at Busy Bees nursery in Newcastle.
Go Bananas fundraisers will also be helping Forest Hall schoolgirl Aysha Matthews who was born at 26 weeks and, due to difficulties at birth, was left with cerebral palsy.
The Westmoor Primary School year 5 pupil has never been able to ride a bike so her family have asked for a specialist trike costing £1,100.
Harley Stallard, of Washington, who also has cerebral palsy, is on the list too, as the charity aim to provide the four-year-old with a £330 iPad to help improve his communication skills.
And three-year-old quadriplegic cerebral palsy sufferer Nathan He
witt, of Howdon near Wallsend, is hoping to benefit with a £2,230 seating system.
The final two Go Bananas child beneficiaries are 10-year-old Oliver Carss, of Gateshead, and Whitley Bay’s Alex Rolls, 13.
Sunshine Fund chiefs want to provide laptops for both youngsters – Oliver has ADHD and autism, while Alex has spina bifida – to help with their education, social skills and confidence.
The Chronicle will feature each child’s individual story over the cours
e of Go Bananas in June, starting with Nieve on Wednesday.