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Generous donors help Hannah to communicate with others

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

TEENAGER: Hannah Antonio who is set to find her voice

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TEENAGER Hannah Antonio is set to find her voice with the help of the communication aid she so desperately needs thanks to the generosity of Devon donors.

The 17-year-old from South Brent, near Totnes, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, scoliosis and is unable to talk.

Many generous kind-hearted people in South Devon have responded to an appeal by Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children to help give Hannah the opportunity to communicate with the world around her.

Her father Mike Antonio, a special constable based at Totnes police station, said: "When Hannah was younger we thought that mobility was the most important issue, but as she has got older we have realised that it is her ability – or rather lack of it – to communicate with the outside world that shapes her life. That's why a hi-tech communication aid would open up so many new possibilities for her."

The cost of the equipment was £5,117 and prompted Hannah's family to apply to Newlife for help with funding.

The charity has awarded £280,874 in equipment grants to 116 children in Devon.

Local Devon donors came forward with £1,740 towards the communication aid, with further funding of £2,046 from soldier Jason Desmond and his wife, Tracey, who are currently based in Scotland.

Newlife made up the shortfall of £1,331, and the equipment is currently on order.

Hannah's mother Kim Antonio added: "We want to thank everyone who has done so much to make Hannah's dream come true.

"We have been overwhelmed by the love and help we have received and we know that Hannah would also love to say a big, big thank you to all of you special people, whether part of a group, club, school or as an individual donor.

"Also, a further thank you to soldier Jason and his wife Tracey.

"We would also like to thank staff at the Dame Hannah Rogers School who will be helping our daughter learn to use the equipment to its full potential."

Newlife fundraising manager Nora Smith added: "The generosity of residents in the South Brent, Totnes, Brixham and Dartmouth areas has been overwhelming."

Newlife is currently working with the families of four other children in Devon, with equipment needs totalling £7,591.

If anyone would like to help one of these children, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640.

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