Special new bed delight for little Darragh McGlade from Draperstown

Darragh McGlade from Straw, Draperstown
Darragh McGlade from Straw, Draperstown

Ten-year-old Darragh McGlade will soon be sleeping in safety in a room of his own, thanks to the donation of a specialist bed from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.

Darragh, from Straw outside Draperstown, has complex physical and medical needs. He has hydrocephalus and severe epilepsy, which has resulted in developmental delay. He is able to sit with support but cannot walk, and uses a wheelchair for mobility.

Mum Jackie McGlade said: “Because of his condition and the fact that his seizures are mainly at night, I have always had Darragh in my bed so I can keep a close watch over him. His seizures usually start with him vomiting, so it is really important that I can get to him quickly.

“However, I now have a special monitor with a built-in alarm that alerts me to any change in his condition. He will be 11 in July so I really think it’s about time he was in a bed of his own.

“We have had some work done to our home so my bedroom is connected to Darragh’s new room so I will still be able to react quickly – all we needed was a suitable bed to keep him safe.”

With no funding available from local statutory services for a specialist high-sided profiling bed – so Darragh can’t fall out and he can sleep at an angle to help prevent choking should he be sick – Jackie and her husband started research of their own.

“I couldn’t believe the cost of the equipment; I was so shocked. It is over £6,000 . . . serious money,” she said.

The bed most suitable for Darragh has high sides for safety, a Perspex window in the side so he can look out and mum Jackie can see him at a glance, a profiling facility as well as the ability to raise and lower the bed to help his carers. It costs £6,135.

The McGlade family turned for help to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children.