Thomas and Jo

Jo cares for her son

Grants from IET Connect help Jo’s son Thomas to have life-changing therapy and support.

The support from IET Connect has been simply life-changing. I can’t even put into words the difference their help has made.

"When I first heard the words ‘cerebral palsy’, it didn’t sink in. I didn’t even know what it was. Our son, Thomas, was just 20 days old at the time. He’s three now, and the cerebral palsy means he can’t sit, stand or walk independently.

These early years of development are incredibly important. The therapy and exercises we do now will make all the difference to what Thomas can do when he’s older. As a mum, you want to do as much as you possibly can, and I gave up work last year to look after Thomas. But we found ourselves in a vicious cycle – everything is more expensive when you have a disabled child, from transport to equipment to care, and we’d lost an income.

IET Connect

Support from IET Connect has been simply life-changing. I can’t even put into words the difference their help has made – not just for Thomas but for me, my husband Lee and his two teenage children who now live with us. The grants we received paid for adaptations to our new house, which means we can live somewhere that suits all the family. We have enough space that I can move Thomas around much more easily – and in the future he can get about the house himself with his walking frame and equipment.

IET Connect has also paid for accommodation and travel when I’ve taken Thomas to London and Wales for specialist therapy. We couldn’t have done it otherwise. They’ve helped with the little things too, like a special piece of physiotherapy equipment that’s the same as Thomas uses at his NHS session, so we can practise what we learn back at home.

Applying to IET Connect

It was really straightforward to apply to IET Connect. Not like lots of other applications forms that seem deliberately complicated. And having a caseworker is great. I know that Jonas is always at the end of the phone. He understood the issues we were facing straightaway. It was so refreshing to talk to someone who got what we were striving for and wanted to achieve. I don't know where we’d be without IET Connect – we’d definitely be struggling.
 
We started fundraising for Thomas’ treatment back in 2012.  Since then, we have done so many different things for him, people have been amazing. In 2013, my brother wrote a beautiful children’s book called Tommy at the Farm, which we had printed and sell online and in local shops and at events. Our Facebook page, Treatment for Thomas, is another way for us to raise money, as well as keep all our friends and family up to date with how Thomas is doing. We’ll keep doing everything we can to give Thomas the best opportunities.

The future

My hope for the future is just that Thomas can be the best he can be. No one can tell us what he will and won’t be able to do when he’s older. But everyone agrees early intervention is key. We’ve been able to do so much more thanks to IET Connect.

As a carer you can feel isolated. It’s so important to know that there are other people in your situation and that there’s help out there. I’d say to anyone who can, contact IET Connect – it could really change your life."

You can follow Thomas' progress on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/TreatmentForThomas

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IET Connect doesn’t just think about money, they’re really in tune with people’s emotional needs.
They’re more like family.

 

"Jeff and I were having such fun, doing things together after we’d retired. But when he had two strokes, our lives were turned upside down. I felt isolated, alone and like no one understood. Without IET Connect, I could have tipped over the edge.

One day, I was sorting through Jeff’s things when I found his IET membership card and a leaflet about IET Connect. Plucking up the courage to call them was a turning point. The lady on the helpline listened and said she thought they could help us. I was stunned because I didn’t know anything about IET Connect."

Find out more about June

"You hear stories about other people’s parents getting frail and needing care. But until you’re in that situation yourself, you don't realise how deeply dispiriting and stressful it can be.

I believe that if we hadn’t had the help from IET Connect, my health would have broken down from the strain of managing my parents’ situation on top of holding down my full-time job and looking after my own family. Talking to them was such a hugely significant factor in turning a corner. I finally thought, ‘Maybe we can manage this after all’."

Find out more about Susan