Frame victory for battling mum

By Annie DavidsonA MOTHER was celebrating last night after a health trust agreed to fund vital equipment for her disabled daughter.Natalie Baalham said she had come close to breaking down after struggling to raise funds for a standing frame for her daughter, Olivia.

By Annie Davidson

A MOTHER was celebrating last night after a health trust agreed to fund vital equipment for her disabled daughter.

Natalie Baalham said she had come close to breaking down after struggling to raise funds for a standing frame for her daughter, Olivia.

The three-year-old suffers from the complex neurological disorder Rett Syndrome, which affects her ability to speak and stand.


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Olivia outgrew her standing frame and needed a new one, costing £2,000, but Mrs Baalham, from Lawford, was in dispute with Colchester Primary Care Trust over how it should be funded.

Now she has been told the primary care trust will pay for the standing frame which, combined with a £1,500 Lycra suit, helps prevent curvature of the spine.

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However, Olivia must first undergo an assessment to confirm she needs the frame.

Mrs Baalham said she was pleased to learn the frame would be bought by the primary care trust.

“Obviously, the letter of complaint I sent to the primary care trust did make a difference and it also made the primary care trust aware of the need to improve the current system,” she added.

Mrs Baalham said she was grateful for donations given by kind-hearted East Anglian Daily Times' readers who read of Olivia's plight.

About £450 was donated and the money will now be spent on a tricycle for the youngster.

A spokesman for Colchester Primary Care Trust said: “If as a result of the assessment there is a clear clinical need for Olivia to have a new frame, she will get one and it will be funded in its entirety by the primary care trust.”

He added a leaflet was being produced to help the parents of disabled children by making clear what help and advice was available and from whom.

“Mrs Baalham has agreed to be involved in the proofing process. We are always keen for input from parents and patients,” said the spokesman.

Rett Syndrome usually becomes evident in the second year of life and occurs after something goes wrong with the child's genetic make-up.

The symptoms include repetitive hand clapping, serious regression in speech and an inability to stand unaided.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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