Donated stairlift makes ‘the world of difference’ for 10-year-old girl

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Acorn Stairlifts service engineer Ben Shutz with Laila Stanhope.

A ten-year-old girl, whose family were told to say their final goodbyes, has returned home from hospital following the ‘gift of a stairlift’.

Laila Stanhope had no history of illness when she told her mum, Charley, she had a headache.

“We were driving to her uncle’s in March when she started complaining of a headache; I didn’t think anything of it at the time but when we arrived Laila took a turn for the worse,” said Charley (28).

“Laila suddenly collapsed and had a seizure before slipping in and out of consciousness while Charley tried to keep her awake. “Instinct just told me to keep talking to her while we called for help and I was later told this most likely saved her life.”

A scan showed two blood clots in Laila’s brain with doctors advising that any surgery could have a detrimental affect. The ten-year-old was put into a coma and kept alive through a life support machine.

“The day after Laila was taken into hospital, she suffered a heart attack and doctors told us to gather close family and friends to say our final goodbyes. They were taking her off the life support machine,” Charley continued.

“That day was horrific. We just waited at the hospital for news, when all of a sudden, we were told that Laila had taken a breath by herself. Before we knew it, she began moving her legs and we could see she was coming through. She’s an absolute trooper,” said Charley said.

While Laila regained some movement and independent breathing, the family were told she would have permanent brain damage and had lost the use of her right thigh; she had become immobile.

“We were assigned an occupational therapist as Laila now needed a wheelchair and home was suddenly a minefield of obstacles. With no downstairs bedroom, Laila either needed to sleep in the lounge or we had to find a way of getting her upstairs.

“We were put on a waiting list for a free stairlift as we just didn’t have the funds to buy one, however it wouldn’t become available until 2019. We knew Laila would be in and out of hospital with no means of movement and the future looked so bleak for us all. And then Acorn Stairlifts got in touch,” added Charley.

Acorn Stairlifts, which is based in West Yorkshire, saw the family’s story in the national news and immediately explored how they could help, including sourcing a free electric wheelchair from local provider, Janshop Mobility in Wickford.

Nick Wilson, operations director at Acorn Stairlifts, said: “When we heard about Laila’s story, we knew we had the expertise to be able to help. The family has been through an horrific ordeal and have even been burgled while visiting Laila in hospital. We just want to do our bit to give Laila and her family some relief at home and we know from experience that getting back upstairs and into your own bedroom is life changing for everyone.

“We hope the stairlift makes life that bit easier and that Laila’s recovery goes from strength to strength.”

Charley added: “I’m so grateful to the team at Acorn for their ‘gift’ of a stairlift and for arranging the free wheelchair; they are both making the world of difference to the whole family now Laila is home.

“Everyone has just been amazing with their support during such a turbulent year. The Essex children’s charity Wipe Away Those Tears has been brilliant with us and bought Laila an electric double bed, meaning it’s easier for her to get in and out. The generosity from everyone has been overwhelming. I just hope our story makes others think twice about minor illnesses; you never know what a headache might be telling you.”

Steeton-based Acorn Stairlifts is a world leader in manufacturing and installing stairlifts and produces approximately 60,000 stairlifts a year at its UK factories.