Freedom for Byfield’s Harriet who will get her portable hoist

editorial image

A disabled girl from Byfield will soon have the freedom most teenagers have thanks to generous donors who have raised enough money to buy her a portable hoist.

Harriet Margieson has a rare and painful condition and needs to be hoisted in and out of her wheelchair but few places have specialist equipment.

Newlife, The Charity for Disabled Children, launched a fundraising appeal to buy the 13-year-old girl a £1,655 portable hoist which would give her much more freedom on August 25.

Less than three weeks later, the target has been hit and Harriet’s mother Jane Margieson was so pleased and thankful.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone who donated to the appeal,” she said.

“Harriet is delighted by the news and the equipment will make a huge difference.”

Harriet has Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome, which has made her quadriplegic and causes severe muscle spasms.

Her condition is made even rarer as she does not have a learning disability unlike many others with the syndrome.

She is far too heavy to be lifted so a portable hoist will make a world of difference at home and when they are out and about as few places have the specialist facilities they need.

Newlife’s head of charity operations, Stephen Morgan, said: “The response has been amazing and shows how Harriet’s day to day struggle really touched the heart of members of the local community.”

Despite her condition, like every child Harriet loves to get out and about to explore with her family.

Unfortunately this has become much harder for Harriet as she grows up.

She has undergone hip and spine operations and is due to go back into hospital in September for further invasive surgery.

There are only two sites Jane knows of that have specialist changing facilities including a hoist and a changing bed, cutting down the places they can go as a family.

She said: “That’s Milton Keynes shopping centre and Toddington services on the M1.”

“Lack of appropriate changing facilities means Harriet is severely restricted to where she can go,” Jane added.

“There are lots of disabled toilets around, but Harriet has to be laid flat to change her – and I’m not putting her on a dirty floor where everyone has walked and I am unable to lift her any more anyway.”

Despite having two fixed hoists in Harriet’s bedroom and bathroom, the portable hoist will make a difference at home too as it will allow Harriet to play with her sisters and be able to do more activities many children take for granted.

Stephen, from Newlife, added: “It’s great we can help Harriet, but we still need to find £5,116 to help six other children in Northamptonshire. To find out how you can help a local disabled child go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/northamptonshire.”

Every penny donated will be used to save and change young lives in Northamptonshire and support other disabled and terminally-ill children in the county.