A loving family at ‘breaking point’ are in desperate need of a life-changing specialist bed for their disabled daughter after the five-year-old narrowly escaped a terrifying fall down the stairs in the night.
Kimberley Collins, known as Kimmi, from Halesowen, has absolutely no concept of danger due to her genetic developmental condition Smith Magenis Syndrome and often struggles to breathe, has recurrent chest infections and learning difficulties.
On one night she was only saved from plunging headfirst down the stairs because her pyjamas caught on the safety gate.
Simon and Clare have to stop her repeatedly banging her head on hard surfaces, while she has been found in the bathroom rubbing shampoo into her eyes because of her complex condition.
She is regularly awake throughout the night because she produces sleep hormones at lunchtime, so her family often have sleepless nights watching over her.
Recognising the serious risk of severe injury to Kimmi and due to excessive delays in the system meaning statutory services are unable to provide a bed, Cannock-based Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children has stepped in to try and help fund it.
The equipment will provide a fully enclosed safe space for Kimmi to sleep and relax in; it will prevent her from wandering around the house and the bed’s cushioned sides will mean she can’t injure herself when banging her head.
But because of huge financial pressures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Newlife is appealing to the public to help raise the £3,095 needed to pay for the specialist bed.
Kimmi’s mum Clare said: “We started sleeping in front of her bedroom door, but we can’t stay awake all the time. The night she nearly fell down the stairs was terrifying – and it was our breaking point; we knew something had to change.
“She wakes frequently throughout the night and is often awake for long periods of time alone. We have always previously used a child’s safety gate to keep her safely in her bedroom because there was nothing in there that she could harm herself with.
“Now she has figured out how to climb over the safety gate and due to her learning delays, Kimmi has no concept of danger and we have woke to find her in the bathroom rubbing shampoo into her eyes, using sign language to indicate she wanted to wash her face.”
Clare added: “A new permanent bed will mean Kimmi will be physically safe and unable to wander around the house. She’s trialled one in the past and when she was experiencing sensory overload she climbed into the bed and asked to be closed in, which gave her a sense of peace. It really would mean the world to us.”
Newlife saw an increase in calls to its nurse-run helpline from worried families seeking help throughout the lockdown as they struggled to get the support and equipment they need, often because of the huge strain being put on statutory services.
In the West Midlands alone, Newlife currently has 61 children on its waiting list needing equipment totalling £72,383.
Senior Manager for Newlife’s Child and Family Team, Carrick Brown, added: “Unfortunately, as much as we want to help Kimmi and her family, we simply don’t have the funds to buy the equipment right now.
“We are desperately appealing to the local community for help to raise the money so Kimmi can have the specialist bed she urgently needs.”
Anyone able to help Kimmi should contact Newlife on 01543 431 460, go to https://newlife.support/HelpKimmi, email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also text NEWLIFE KIMMI to 70500 to give £10 to her appeal. 100% of your donation will go towards Newlife. Texts cost the £10 donation plus one message at your standard network rate. Always get the bill payer’s permission.
By completing the Gift Aid form you will allow Newlife to claim an extra 25 per cent on donations you make at no extra cost to you.
Money raised above the amount needed for Kimmi’s bed will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in need.