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Spica chairs help ease the pain

HAVING been born with bilateral hip dysplasia, Leanne Tomlinson knows the daily struggles that can come from living with the condition.

“Although I was born with this condition, it only reared its ugly head in 2006 when I was 36-years-old,” Ms Tomlinson said.

“At that time, we had a raspberry farm that required a fair bit of manual labour and it was then I started to get lots of pain.

“I was soon sent to a Melbourne specialist and have since had more than 20 procedures and operations.

“Some days are great and some are not so great because of the pain – it can be very hard to do normal tasks and on a bad day, just walking causes pain.”

Hip dysplasia is a condition where a person’s hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone, which allows the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated.

Most people who suffer from hip dysplasia are born with the condition.

Saddened by the thought of a child and their family living with the condition, Ms Tomlinson has set out to make their life that little bit easier by designing a “spica chair”, which is now available for free loan to parents.

Designed with the assistance of Royal Hobart Hospital physiotherapist Jan Menzies, the chair is suitable for children who need special seating as a result of a hip spica cast or brace.

“The spica chair is used like a high chair, but is situated a lot lower to the ground,” she said.

“This means the child can still play, watch television, eat, drink and be at a level that allows them to be involved in what is going on around them.

“The chairs are suitable for an infant or child that can sit by itself and holds its head up without assistance.

“The chairs are loaned out to parents free of charge and then returned, checked and the noodles replaced, ready for the next child in need.”

Ms Tomlinson said she was “so grateful” for the funding assistance provided by the Tasmania Hospitality Association Tasmania (THAT) Foundation, YT Joinery, Bagdad and Stewarts Canvas.

“Without them, my dream would still be years away,” she said.

“I am also grateful to my friends and family for their support and donations of little goodie bags, which I will be giving to each child when they receive a chair to hopefully brighten there day.”

For more information, email spicachairs@gmail.com or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/spicachairs.

Caption: Zarah Evans, front, in her brand new spica chair with mother Katie, back right, and chair creator Leanne Tomlinson.

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About the Author: Hobart Observer

The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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