Bid to keep van to help disabled

Disabled teenager Katie Waring with dad Ken
Disabled teenager Katie Waring with dad Ken

A COUPLE are racing against time to keep a vehicle they want to use to help severely disabled children.

Ken, 58, and Eveline Waring, 52, lost their daughter Katie before Christmas after she suffered from complications when she contracted pneumonia and swine flu.

The 19-year-old suffered from the rare brain condition craniostenosis, which caused long-term brain damage and meant she required round the clock care.

One of Katie’s biggest pleasures was going out in her Motability van, which now has to be returned next week unless the grieving couple can find the cash to buy it.

Although still reeling from the loss of the daughter they had devoted their lives to, Ken and Eveline are now considering fostering children with complex needs or even providing respite care for other parents who have severely disabled youngsters.

To do this they would need a specialist vehicle, which is part of the reason why they are desperate to keep the van.

As the couple were both full-time carers, they have been living on benefits and do not have the £5,150 needed to buy the specially-adapted vehicle.

If they cannot now raise the money in less than a week it will have to be returned, leaving them not only losing a connection to Katie, but with a valuable asset they could use to help other young people.

Eveline, of the Clavering area of Hartlepool, said: “The van was a godsend to Katie. She was unable to speak, but her smile spoke volumes and her face just lit up whenever we went out for a drive.”

Eveline, who is also mum to Michelle, 21, added: “Because we’ve spent so many years caring for Katie we know what it’s like looking after a child with severe disabilities and we’d like to think that we will be able to help and support other families in the future.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to find some way to keep the van.”

Motability have shown compassion and empathy to the family regarding the return of the vehicle, but now it has to be bought or given back.

The couple’s campaign to raise the cash has been given the full backing of Hartlepool Carers, which provided much-needed practical and emotional support to the family before and after Katie’s death.

Tracy Jefferies, of Hartlepool Carers, said: “For Ken and Eveline this van is an important link with Katie. It brought their daughter so much pleasure and gave the family so many happy memories they can’t bear the thought of losing it.

“Despite their grief, they have talked about perhaps becoming carers again in the future so the van could possibly be used to help others.”

Anyone who can help the Warings reach their target, or require support in caring for a friend or relative, should contact Hartlepool Carers on (01429) 283095.