A Larne baby’s quality of life will be changed for the better thanks to donations from kind-hearted local people and businesses.
Little Wyatt Magee, who is seven months old, was born with plagiocephaly, colloquially known as “flat head syndrome”, and needs a custom-made specialised helmet.
The condition causes a baby’s head to be flattened on one side, making it look asymmetrical.
Wyatt’s condition is caused by torticollis, a tight muscle on the left hand side of his neck.
With funding for a £2,000 corrective helmet unavailable on the NHS, Wyatt’s mum Kerry launched the “Wyatt’s Head Start” campaign to raise funds to provide helmets for her son and other children affected by the condition.
After raising around £1,000 through fundraising events and public donations, Kerry received a welcome surprise on Monday when local company Actavis offered to donate the final £1,000 towards Wyatt’s helmet.
She told the Times: “I can’t believe it. I am completely overwhelmed by the support that we have got.
“My son is only a tiny premature baby and yet this big company has come forward to help. It’s brilliant! I can’t thank them enough for their generosity. “This helmet will be life-changing for Wyatt.”
Kerry says she is “still in shock” at the speed with which the local community has rallied round to support her family. She added: “We only set up the appeal four weeks ago. I think that it’s lovely that our small story got so big so quickly as I had been really panicking about the money involved.”
The local mum says that being able to purchase the helmet will make an “unbelievable difference” to Wyatt’s life. She explained: “I won’t have to worry about future bullying or Wyatt suffering further deformity, as the condition had already begun to move one of his ears forward.
“The helmet will help his balance and he will be able to lead a normal life. You can’t put a price on that.”
Actavis’ Corporate Social Responsibility Team member Helen Spoor told the Times that the company was motivated to make the donation in order to give back to the local community. She explained: “We have regular funding meetings to decide what to sponsor and we saw Wyatt’s story in the Larne Times. “Making a difference in the community is one of Actavis’ policies. It benefits worthy causes and it’s lovely to help people in need like this.”
Actavis, formerly known as Warner-Chilcott and Ivex, also supports groups such as Larne Foodbank. Helen concluded: “I would like to wish Wyatt all the best for his future and his treatment which we hope will really improve his quality of life.”
Actavis Larne site manager Jim McIlroy added: “It’s only a small amount, but we try and support local initiatives in the Larne area. We look forward to seeing Wyatt again after he has received his treatment.”
Since the corrective helmets are only available in England, the Magee family will use the proceeds of a fundraising evening to be held at Ballylumford Social Club this Saturday, February 21 from 8pm-late, to fund travel expenses. Entry is £3 on the door.
An evening of live music with ballots will also take place at Larne Pigeon Club on March 7 from 8pm-1am. Entry is £5 on the door.
Kerry says she intends to use any leftover money to finance helmets for other families in the same position, and that she will keep fundraising for corrective helmets for other babies through the Wyatt’s Head Start fund. “Not everybody is lucky enough to have the support that we have had,” she added. To donate to the Wyatt’s Head Start fund, visit gogetfunding.com