Imagine this. Fifty years ago, you are the mother of two young boys. Both children have muscular dystrophy. Your husband, unable to cope, has abandoned you all. You have no money, no resources, nowhere to turn. You are desperate.
Lifeline 4 Kids helps such distressed families. The charity has worked tirelessly to help children regardless of race, creed or colour who have problems and are aged from birth to eighteen.
Fifty one years on, the same philosophy drives our volunteers. All money raised goes to help the children. Lifeline 4 Kids receives no government funding, has no employees, minimal expenses, no office rent or administrative costs. Members pay all their own expenses. Meeting in each other's homes, they read and approve appeals and allocate investigations. Fundraising goes on continuously.
Cash grants are never awarded. Instead the charity supplies the help needed. Many millions of pounds have been used to buy equipment for hospitals and homes, purpose built wheelchairs and specialty aids. A hoist may be installed to facilitate getting a heavy child into a bath, an adjustable lifting and turning bed provided to give a teenager independence. Any project to improve the quality of life for children born with, or who have acquired a handicap or disability, can be undertaken.
David was a 13-year-old boy without arms or legs whose mother had taken thalidomide. He needed a special wheelchair. Over the past thirty years he has lived a good life and become a valued friend.
A child who cannot speak or write might receive the means to communicate. One who cannot walk might get the special wheelchair needed. Blind children receive tactile books so they can use their fingers to feel what characters look like. Nowadays means are available to allow children to integrate in mainstream school and keep up with their peers. But this must be paid for.
Adventure playgrounds need equipment suited to children who have limited physical ability. Specially adapted swings, slides, soft surfaces and adapted tricycles enable children to get out and use these playgrounds for the first time.
Hospitals need intensive care cots for babies with problems. The committee has also funded state of the art scanners, gamma cameras and imaging tables to check on children with a variety of diseases.
Lifeline 4 Kids receives many requests for help every day. Limited government resources mean that demand will always exceed the means to pay for special items. Although we have fewer members than in the early days we now help many more children than ever. The committee has been so encouraged by the big-heartedness of friends and the public over the last fifty years. Imagine receiving letters not only from parents but also from the children themselves, which simply say -- "I can never thank you enough, but thank you forever."
We are determined never to let a child's cry for help go unheard.