Lifelites donates and maintains packages of specialist technologies for the 10,000 terminally ill and disabled children using every baby and children’s hospice service in the British Isles. Founded as a Masonic initiative, Lifelites has become a well-established charity in its own right. The Masonic Charitable Foundation helps by providing office premises and administrative services. Without these costs it means that the funds raised by Lifelites are concentrated on delivering their life-enhancing technology projects.
For children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions such as cancer, these packages enable them to play, be creative, control something for themselves and communicate – often for the first time. Their conditions mean that many of the children have limited mobility, reduced dexterity and some cannot communicate in traditional ways.
The specialist iPad packages which Lifelites donates have apps that give children the opportunity to join in with creative activities like music and painting. The Magic Carpet projects images on the floor, wheelchair tray or bed which the children can play with giving them experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have to fly a plane, splash in the sea or play football with their brothers and sisters. Eyegaze, an eye tracking device, means they can use a computer just with the movement of their eyes and tell their carers what they would like to eat or drink and can even tell their parents they love them. It means that these children can stay involved with the world around them for as long as it is possible. The charity ensures that the equipment they provide is portable so that even if a child cannot get out of bed, the equipment can be taken to them.
Lifelites does not just provide the equipment and walk away. The team consult with the staff and children to find out what would be most useful for the children they care for. They research the best solutions and make hospice staff aware of what is possible. The charity raises the funds to provide and install equipment as well as training hospice staff on how to use it. They are also committed to keeping it in good order and they aim to replace it every four years.
The hospices themselves simply could not afford to do what Lifelites does. Without Lifelites these children, for whom every second counts, would miss out on the chances which new technology can bring. Because they look after the equipment, hospice staff can concentrate on doing what they do best; caring for the children and their families.
For more information, please visit www.lifelites.org