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Monday, 26 October 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Life-changing technology for isolated, life-limited, and disabled children

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THE Provincial Grand Lodge of Hertfordshire has donated £3,750 to the charity Lifelites which donates assistive technology for life-limited and disabled children using all hospice care services across the British Isles.

Lifelites and the Freemasons of Hertfordshire are particularly aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling overwhelmed by the sudden change of routine and isolation. Everyone has been getting a living insight into what it is like to be a life-limited and disabled child; unable to leave the house independently, speak to people and socialise naturally, or even carry out all sorts of everyday activities that we usually take for granted. These are all challenges that Lifelites is seeking to help children overcome through the provision of special technologies. Particularly now, they find themselves even more isolated due to changes in hospices services.

The Hertfordshire Freemasons donated towards an Eyegaze for use by children at the North London children’s hospice Noah’s Ark. The assistive technology Eyegaze enables children who cannot speak to communicate with their parents and carers, play with their brothers and sisters, paint, or make music, even if all they can move are there eyes. The children can express their wishes, fears, and thoughts, which is so important, especially in this uncertain time.

One of the children who will greatly benefit from the life-changing technology donated by Lifelites to Noah’s Ark is the toddler, Lex. He almost died when he turned blue and stopped breathing in his mother’s arms, had four heart attacks and a stroke. He has been diagnosed with a rapidly degenerative, neuromuscular genetic disease which means that he has to breathe through a tracheostomy tube and cannot really talk. However, Lex is extremely social, interactive, and smiles a lot. Lex’s parents see how frustrated he gets when he is unable to express himself and cannot communicate with his mum and dad. ‘We can’t wait to see him using this – it will really change the way he’s able to interact’.

Provincial Grand Master of Hertfordshire, Paul Gower, said:

“It is an honour for us to enable Lifelites to provide Eyegaze for life-limited and disabled children using Noah’s Ark’s services. We know that the children’s hospices, the children and their families are going through a very difficult time right now. With our donation, we want to help reduce the burden, so that these children can escape the confines of their conditions, and connect with their families in ways not possible before.”

Lifelites chief executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, said:

“With the very generous donation from the Hertfordshire Freemasons for Eyegaze, we can give life-limited and disabled children in London the possibility to play with their brothers and sisters, and tell their parents they love them, sometimes for the first time. It’s wonderful to see that these technologies can have a tremendous impact on the lives of these children. It really does give those with limited lives unlimited possibilities. This is only possible thanks to our supporters, like the Freemasons of Hertfordshire.”

Lifelites donates and maintains assistive and inclusive technology for the 10,000 life-limited and disabled children using every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. This technology gives these children the opportunity to play, be creative, communicate and control something for themselves, for as long as it is possible.

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