Bid to give Tyler a head start in devel­op­ment

HAN­NAH GRAY meets a young mum who has turned her hand to event or­gan­is­ing in a bid to raise funds for her son.

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your -

AS any new par­ent will tes­tify, once that lit­tle bun­dle of joy has been put into your arms, you will do any­thing for him or her, what­ever the cost.

Al­though rais­ing a child is ex­pen­sive, most of us are not faced with a huge bill be­yond our means for much-needed med­i­cal treat­ment for our child.

How­ever, this is the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing Leanne Hepworth (24) and her fi­ancé, Shaun Kemp (25), from New Eng­land, Peter­bor­ough.

Their son, Tyler Kemp, who is six months old, needed a spe­cial hel­met to treat his flat-head syn­drome, or pla­gio­cephaly, which cost £2,000. Be­cause time is of the essence in or­der to re-mould Tyler’s head, his par­ents have al­ready bought the hel­met and have been given four months to pay for it.

As Leanne is now on ma­ter­nity leave from her job as a health­care as­sis­tant, and Shaun has just started his own fruit and veg busi­ness in Flet­ton, they are not a cou­ple who have that kind of spare money.

So, Leanne has set about or­gan­is­ing a fam­ily fun day, to be held at the Paul Pry pub in Wal­ton, in or­der to raise the money to pay for the hel­met.

Tyler was born with a slightly flat head, which seemed to get worse as time went on.

Leanne asked her health vis­i­tor about his head, and was given ad­vice on repo­si­tion­ing him, as this can help to get it back to a more usual shape, by en­sur­ing he did not al­ways rest in the same place. How­ever, Leanne be­came concerned that this course of ac­tion wasn’t work­ing, and by the time he was eight weeks old, Leanne and Shaun were quite wor­ried.

Like most mums, Leanne was torn be­tween try­ing to do the best for her baby, and not want­ing to over -re­act.

“Ev­ery­body kept telling me it was fine and that it should rec­tify it­self on its own,” she said.

“Then you get peo­ple telling you that you should get a sec­ond opin­ion as their lit­tle boy or girl’s head didn’t im­prove, and oth­ers who tell you that it did.”

In the end, Leanne asked her health vis­i­tor for a re­fer­ral to an ex­pert, and she was sent to a clinic in London when Tyler was five months old.

Al­though Tyler does not have any side-ef­fects to his con­di­tion, Leanne was de­ter­mined to get it sorted in or­der to give him the best chance in life.

“One of his ears is slightly lower than the other, and so he’d have prob­lems if he wanted to get glasses.

“Also, chil­dren and adults can be so cruel,” she said.

“You don’t know what the long-term ef­fects are go­ing to be, al­though they say there’s noth­ing proven.”

At the clinic in London, Tyler was fit­ted for a spe­cial hel­met, which will hope­fully help mould his head into the right shape.

So far, he has ad­justed well to his hel­met, which he is sup­posed to wear for 23 hours a day, al­though he has tried to take it off dur­ing the hot weather.

Other peo­ple, how­ever, can make life a bit more com­pli­cated.

“I get peo­ple ask­ing me where they can get one for their lit­tle boy be­cause he’s al­ways hit­ting his head, and then there are those who are just star­ing which is fair enough be­cause they don’t know what it is,” Leanne said.

As well as try­ing to get Tyler used to his hel­met, Leanne has been busy or­gan­is­ing the fam­ily fun day, which will be held on Satur­day, July 3, from noon to 4pm.

She has been touched by how sup­port­ive peo­ple have been, par­tic­u­larly in these dif­fi­cult fi­nan­cial times.

“It has been bril­liant,” she said. “When I started, I didn’t think peo­ple would be so sup­port­ive, but they are.

“A lot of peo­ple have been re­ally, re­ally help­ful. The lo­cal com­mu­nity and friends and fam­ily all want to help.”

Chief among those help­ing out is the Paul Pry, which, to Leanne’s sur­prise, of­fered to host the fun day.

“Ba­si­cally, I was ring­ing up lo­cal com­pa­nies to see whether or not, if we did some­thing, they would do­nate meal vouch­ers, and one of the man­agers at the Paul Pry said we could hold it there,” she said.

Other lo­cal com­pa­nies have got on board to do­nate raf­fle prizes, and the team be­hind the Mod­i­fied Na­tion­als has held a col­lec­tion, which they will be bring­ing down on the day, along with some cars.

Also present will be the fire bri­gade, a bouncy cas­tle, a cake stall, a car boot sale and other stalls and en­ter­tain­ment.

Al­though ob­vi­ously anx­ious to en­sure she raises the money needed for Tyler’s hel­met, Leanne has quite en­joyed ris­ing to the chal­lenge of or­gan­is­ing such a big event.

“I’ve never done any­thing like this, never ever or­gan­ised any­thing like this be­fore,” she said.

“It has been fun to be hon­est. I hope if this goes well I can help other peo­ple in the same sit­u­a­tion.”

Leanne would still like to col­lect more prizes for the raf­fle.

If you can help, or would like more in­for­ma­tion about the event, please call her on 07547 536417, or e-mail her on leanne1923@live.co.uk

Pic­ture: DAVID LOWN­DES

FUND-RAIS­ING: Leanne with Tyler. (METP-03-06-10DL004)

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