52 Lives (www.52-lives.org), launched by a mum of two is a website which aims to change someone’s life every week of the year through small collective, random acts of kindness. It is based on the simple premise that people are good. And lots of good people working together can achieve amazing things. 52 Lives is supported by almost 100,000 kind strangers and 52 celebrities.
A story has gone live on the website to ask supporters to do something kind for a single mum from Peterborough called Emma and her 9 year old daughter Olivia, who has autism. Olivia is facing a lot of challenges. Her sensory issues are so great that she hasn’t been able to eat or drink anything for nearly three years. For two years she had a tube in her nose that fed into her stomach. It had to be removed and reinstated every four weeks, which was incredibly distressing for her. On Christmas Eve a couple of years ago, the tube change went wrong and Olivia struggled to breath. The memory of this still affects her. Olivia now has a tube that goes directly into her stomach, which has been better for her as it doesn’t need to be changed and isn’t as visible – having a tube on her face had been significantly affecting her self esteem.
Olivia’s mum, Emma, is her full-time carer. She was living in private rented accommodation, but couldn’t afford to stay so her and Olivia were on the verge of being made homeless. Fortunately, they were allocated a council house and moved in last week. For a child with Olivia’s needs, moving house is a very traumatic experience. She finds change incredibly distressing. When they arrived at their new house, they discovered it had no carpet, no cooker and filthy floors – Emma has spent days on her hands and knees trying to get it clean. The previous tenant also didn’t clean up after their dog, so the garden was absolutely covered in dog mess, meaning Olivia hasn’t been able to go outside to use her sensory equipment. Emma’s old house was very much centred around Olivia. She had a little school area where she home-educated her, it was decorated in Olivia’s favourite colours and Emma had factored Olivia’s sensory needs into every aspect of the house. Starting all over again, with little money and no help from anyone, is not going to be easy.
52 Lives charity wants to help make life a little bit easier for both of them, and help Emma feel supported. Jaime from 52 Lives has put out a request for donations for Emma towards play therapy, a new carpet, and a cooker. Emma feels that ‘play therapy’ would be hugely beneficial to Olivia and help her deal with her emotions and gain confidence and trust in other people again, but she can’t afford the sessions. Emma also needs security lights installed and a cat-flap fitted in a double-glazed door, if there are any tradespeople in the Peterborough area that may be able to donate their services. www.52-lives.org