Lifelites provided Demelza South East London Children’s Hospice with an Eyegaze package for the children all thanks to Freemasons of Elizabethan Lodge in The Provincial Grand Lodge of West Kent. An early present before their brand new package next year.
The cutting edge equipment will empower young people at the hospice, who have terminal illnesses and disabilities, to communicate effectively and embrace their creativity.
The revolutionary Eyegaze makes a computer accessible for disabled young people. Through a sensor, Eyegaze allows them to track their eye movements enabling them to move the cursor around the screen. Children whose carers and families thought they were unable to communicate, can now do so with this magical technology – they can tell their carers what they would like to eat or drink and can even, for the first time, tell their parents that they love them. It means that these children can enter and stay involved in the world around them for as long as it is possible. Lifelites aims to install an Eyegaze package in children’s hospices across the country.
Demelza’s deputy head of care Kathy Gilbert said: “We are really excited to have received the fantastic Eyegaze donation at our Eltham hospice. Lifelites has already funded one of these pieces of equipment at our Kent hospice and our colleagues have been overwhelmed by the results. It will be wonderful for our children to be able to learn to use the Eyegaze to make decisions and control their world, as well as giving them a different way to communicate. We hope it will increase the confidence of our children and will also be a real asset for our parents in how they can interact with their children. We cannot say thank you enough to Lifelites and the Freemasons.”
Lifelites chief executive Simone Enefer-Doy gave a speech and thanked all those who had attended and praised the members of the lodge for their generosity and support. She said: "We have developed this package especially for children in hospices – children whatever their ability can communicate and be creative. Next year we hope we will be raising the money to come back with a whole new package for the children here. The Lifelites Eyegaze package doesn’t come cheap but, we know it will be a revolution for the children here so we’re incredibly grateful to the Elizabethan Lodge for their donation."
There is a Lifelites project in all 50 baby and children’s hospices in the British Isles. The hospices do not pay anything towards their Lifelites project and all of Lifelites’ work is funded by donations. The equipment, ongoing technical support and training at each hospice costs around £50,000 over four years.