Nathan is enjoying ‘new lease of life’

Nathan Main using the eye movement-controlled system with his parents Steven and Tracy.
Nathan Main using the eye movement-controlled system with his parents Steven and Tracy.

A youngster with severe cerebral palsy is getting ‘a new lease of life’ thanks to a four-figure grant from Newcastle Building Society.

Nathan Main had to be resuscitated when born but despite his parents being told to prepare for him not surviving, the seven-year-old fought hard to start breathing on his own and pulled through.

His parents Steven and Tracy set up fundraising appeal Nathan’s Needs to help raise funds for making essential adaptations to the family home and provide him with specialist equipment and essential aids.

More than £15,000 has been raised by friends, family and local people through a variety of events and challenges.

And now, after Tracy applied for a grant as a customer, Newcastle Building Society’s Ashington branch has donated £1,135 for the purchase of specialist software to further improve Nathan’s ability to communicate.

Nathan recently took part in a successful trial of a specialist Tobii EyeGaze computer, which works by tracking the eye movements of its users, and having seen the impact that it had on his life, the family ordered a computer and two sets of software costing just over £4,000.

Tracy said: “We’ve tried lots of things to try to help Nathan communicate, but because he has poor hand control, they were unsuccessful.

“He took to the EyeGaze computer really quickly and it’s making an incredible difference – we’re starting to really see how much he understands about what’s going on around him.”

“Nathan has very quickly mastered the initial software package that we bought with his computer and he’s very much ready to move onto the next level, while being able to have the computer with us at all times will make a massive difference.

“This system has given Nathan a whole new lease of life, and the generous support that we’ve had from Newcastle Building Society will mean he can learn to get even more in the future.”

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Ivy Campbell, manager at the Society’s Ashington branch, added: “Our Community Fund is helping us support communities across the north east, and the commitment of everyone involved to helping Nathan makes this campaign hugely worthy of our support.”

For more information on the fundraising work done by Nathan’s Needs, please visit www.nathansneeds.co.uk