Foundation steps in to keep family together

When Liam and Emmie Wood’s baby daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition the last thing they needed was for their only car to break down.

Little Arla Wood was only six weeks old when a scan revealed she had an enlarged heart after a persistent cough wouldn’t clear. 

But worse was to come when the baby from Wirral was diagnosed with a rare condition called Pompe disease which impairs the working of different organs and tissues, especially the heart, respiratory and skeletal muscles.

“It came as a bolt out of the blue,” said Liam, 26, who has three other children. “Arla was referred to Manchester Children’s Hospital and because I’m the only one who can drive I went with her and my wife looked after the older children.”

Then disaster struck when the couple’s 2004 Mitsubishi Grandis wouldn’t start meaning they had no way of driving back to Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Liam explained: “We were told it required thousands of pounds worth of fixing to get it back on the road and even then we were told that it might not fully work again. 

“Unfortunately we didn’t have that kind of money and sadly had to send our car to the scrap yard. Because of Covid-19 public transport had been scaled back and it was impossible to book a taxi. We hired a car for four days but that was expensive and really stressful.”

They mentioned their plight to a charity contact, who was aware of the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund and approached them for help.

Liam said: “Before you knew it the Steve Morgan Foundation had given us £750 to hire a Vauxhall Crossland X for six weeks. We couldn’t believe it. With everything we were going through finding a new car was the last thing we wanted to be doing. It was massive weight off our shoulders.”

After eight long weeks Arla was discharged but still needs to return to Manchester Children’s Hospital every week for enzyme replacement therapy (ERT).

“The ERT is designed to stop the disease spreading,” said her Dad. “She’s now six months old and has started to put on weight.”

And he had this message for the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“We can’t thank the Steve Morgan Foundation and Steve Morgan enough,” he said. “Without it we could have faced more heartache and more separation from one another. It’s hard to understand how much it meant to have Arla home with her Mum and her siblings. We’ve now got a new car so we’ve returned the Vauxhall Crossland X.”

Jane Harris, director of regional funding at the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “We don’t normally make individual awards but the circumstances were such we were delighted to help the family.”

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