"I remember Martha’s amazing smile. She had sand in her hands, the Cornish sea air on her face and could hear her sister Molly, who’s seven, playing. Thanks to IET Connect, it was our first family holiday together in summer 2012.
Martha is quadriplegic. She is deafblind, breathes through a ventilator and is fed through a tube. She spent the first two and a half years of her life in Bristol Children’s Hospital. It was phenomenally stressful but we were forever hopeful we’d sort out the care package we needed to get her home.
We heard about IET Connect when a postcard came through the door. My husband Steve, 45, and I are both engineers and have been IET members since we were 18. We've always paid into the benevolent fund, naively thinking it was more for retired engineers. Something triggered me to call the number on the card and it was so lovely to speak to someone who wanted to help.
A massive impact
IET Connect helped pay for the adapted vehicle we went to Cornwall in. It meant freedom because we’d spent so long travelling in taxis. They have also paid for a Martha’s special seat for disabled children, sensory lights and an articulated arm which clicks on to her wheelchair so she can play music on her iPad.
Our fantastic team of 15 carers are also being trained on how to communicate and play with children with multi-sensory impairment through funding from IET Connect. That’s about learning to better read Martha so she knows what’s happening to her. So, knowing that if we give her a rubber duck, she’s more aware that it is bath time soon instead of getting a shock when there’s a damp flannel on her face.
The support has improved her life immeasurably. Martha’s more secure, confident and contented. She has a richer experience of day-to-day life because of IET Connect.
If people can contribute to IET Connect then I’d urge them to. They have a massive impact on people's lives. I’d say absolutely pick up the phone to those who need support, there's no judgement.”