A Portad0wn family have had their lives changed – and it’s all thanks to the iCare foundation who granted a very important wish.
Kerry and Gordon Hawkins have three children, Ashley, aged 11, Matthew, nine, and seven-year-old Ben.
Ben has life-limiting conditions and suffers from complex needs, including severe cerebral palsy, severe visual impairment and continual drainage from his stomach.
The family were living in an increasingly unsuitable house to meet Ben’s needs; his parents had to carry him up and down the stairs themselves, he couldn’t get outside in his wheelchair and Kerry had to get in to the bath with him to help bathe him.
After a long wait, Apex Housing Association provided the family with a purpose built bungalow, created with Ben’s requirements in mind.
But the house, which was completed in early April, was only required to be completed to a builder’s finish, which meant the walls weren’t painted and the floors were bare concrete.
The medical team who help to care for Ben told the family that there would be a significant risk to his health if he was to move into a house that wasn’t fully painted and after being on life support twice in his already short life, the move was a complete no no.
At their wits end and with no way of being able to afford the work required to make the house liveable for Ben, at the recommendation of Ben’s community children’s nurse Rosie Mulholland, the family turned to the Milford-based iCare for help.
iCare stepped in and granted the family a wish, in the form of a painter/decorator to paint the whole house.
After two full days of painting, the bungalow was ready for the family to move in.
Mum Kerry said: “This iCare wish has been life-changing for Ben and our family. For the first time in his life, Ben has his own bedroom. There is wheelchair access throughout the house, with a wet room that allows us to wheel Ben into the shower.
“Even better, we can now wheel him outside through the accessible doors so he can enjoy the fresh air.
“Without the help of iCare we would still be living in our old house and trying to scrape together the funds to get the house painted. Getting this help and support from the charity has allowed us to move in and make the house our home.
“The entire family can now benefit from a much greater quality of life and we are so grateful to iCare for their help.”