Family face Down's syndrome heartache

A couple in their 70s are trying to raise �2,000 for a chair to make their ill daughter's last years as comfortable as possible.Sandra Wolfe, 53, has Down's syndrome, a genetic condition involving learning difficulties that is present from birth, and she began to develop dementia last year.

A couple in their 70s are trying to raise �2,000 for a chair to make their ill daughter's last years as comfortable as possible.

Sandra Wolfe, 53, has Down's syndrome, a genetic condition involving learning difficulties that is present from birth, and she began to develop dementia last year. She lived with her parents until the dementia began to severely affect her movement.

Her father Peter lost his sight 12 years ago and her mother Beryl also has impaired vision, and the couple, both aged 76, were struggling to give her the care she needed at home.

She went into a care home in North Walsham in May last year, and her parents have been trying to get the specialist chair to keep her as comfortable as possible and help her cope with her illness.

The �2,000 chair will let Sandra be moved easily from room to room, and will mean that she can change her posture without having to stand up. She needs to be kept in one position after she eats because she has problems swallowing food, and the chair will help her to be as comfortable as possible.

The family also hopes to raise enough money for a wheelchair with a special support so they can take her for outings.

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Fundraising efforts kick off in April with an Easter fair organised by Thelma Lowe, a family friend who has worked with Peter at the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind.

The fair will include an Easter egg hunt, tombola, raffle and cake sale as well as nearly new, bric-a-brac and craft stalls.

Ms Lowe said the Wolfes had tried every avenue of funding they could think of but hadn't been able to get help with the cost, so fundraising was their only option.

She said: 'They've devoted their lives to Sandra. They have been such fantastic parents that they deserve a little something back. This is my way of helping.

'As a mum myself, your heart aches for your children. You wish you could take the pain away but you can't. All you can do is be there for them.'

The Easter fair takes place at The Cottage, Louden Road on April 4 from 10am. For more information or to donate items for sale, contact Beryl Wolfe on 01263 514137.

There are 60,000 people in the UK with Down's syndrome

About one in every 1000 babies born in the UK will have the condition

The average life expectancy of someone with the condition is between 50 and 60, with many people living into their 60s and 70s

Down's syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a person's body. This happens at conception and is irreversible

Although older mothers are at higher risk of having a baby with Down's syndrome, about 80pc of children with the condition are born to women under 35

The syndrome causes learning difficulty, but most people with the condition will walk and talk, and many learn to read, write, and lead semi-independent lives

People with the condition are at higher risk of dementia, which may also be more rapid in onset

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