The parents of a little girl with a severe case of ‘Flat Head Syndrome’ are in a race against time to raise £2,000 to pay for private treatment.
Ash and Narelle Gibbs have launched a JustGiving appeal to raise money for a plagiocephaly ‘corrective helmet’ which is not available on the NHS.
The Denby Dale couple are hoping to raise the money in the next week so that four-month-old daughter Emily can have the special helmet fitted in December.
Following a scan of Emily’s skull at a private clinic in Leeds, the family has been told that in Emily’s case the optimum time for treatment is now that she is four months old.
Ash, 25, said the condition – usually caused when a baby spends a lot of time laid on their back – had left Emily with a bulging forehead and had also forced her right ear forwards.
He said: “Without treatment, Emily would never be able to do the things that most of us take for granted.
“She wouldn’t be able to ride a bike as a helmet wouldn’t fit. She would be unable to wear glasses as her ears are misaligned and it would pose limitations on her career as it would prevent certain professions which require helmets.”
Ash, who works as a recruitment consultant in Leeds, added: “Having a misshaped head could be distressing for Emily when she is older and we want to do all we can to ensure this doesn’t happen.”
Mum Narelle, 23, said the helmet worked by restricting growth where the bulging is prominent. It also allows space elsewhere for the skull to grow.
“The helmets cost £2,025,” said Narelle.
“As you can imagine, like most young families, this is a lot of money for us to find. Any help would be gratefully appreciated.”
The family launched the crowdfunding page this week and already £415 has been donated.
Ash said the first hurdle, a £600 deposit, was already within sight.
“If we can get the deposit Emily can have the treatment in December at a private clinic in Leeds.”
Ash said he hoped that Emily’s story highlighted the problem of Flat Head Syndrome to other parents as he and his wife were not aware of the condition despite having two other children, Chloe, four, and 23-month-old Declan.
“We want to raise awareness of this condition,” said Ash. “We have three children but we didn’t know about it. It wasn’t mentioned when the children were born.”
To date 22 well-wishers have contributed to the JustGiving page which can be found here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helmet-for-emily
One mum who donated, Kirsty, said: “My son had this condition although not as bad as your daughter. Nothing like this was available 17 years ago and he has a flat head on one side. I wish you all the luck and hope it works for her.”