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.
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 email@example.com
FUND-RAISING: Leanne with Tyler. (METP-03-06-10DL004)