By Cara Sulieman
A SERVING soldier’s wife has launched an appeal after being told the NHS won’t pay for a special helmet for their baby son.
Tyler Rees – whose dad Stefan is currently in Afghanistan – has two types of flat head syndrome, leaving both the back and the side of his head misshapen.
And his mother Chantelle, 22, now has to raise the £2,000 it costs for a helmet which could protect his soft skull and stop it from becoming more misshapen.
The baby’s case is unusual as Tyler suffers from both brachycephaly and plagiocephaly types of the condition.
“Really happy baby”
Chantelle, who is maternity leave, said: “It’s been very noticeable and I have to do something.
“The only option for him just now is to be fitted with this special helmet but, for some reason, you can’t get that done on the NHS.
“We’re not a high income family and can’t just pull £2,000 out to do this, so we decided to launch an appeal instead.
“Tyler is a really happy baby just now because he doesn’t know, but I don’t want him to grow up with this having harmed him.”
Chantelle’s husband Stefan, 23, is a lance corporal with the 3 Rifles and currently serving in Afghanistan.
She said: “The last time he saw Tyler he was only 15 days old. A lot has happened since then.
“He can smile and make expressions.
“It isn’t easy for Stefan knowing Tyler’s going through this.
“It is difficult without him, it’s hard especially with him being in Afghanistan. You almost feel like a single parent sometimes.
“Thankfully there are other mums around, including one whose daughter had flat head syndrome, and I can get help and advice from them.”
Stefan is due back on Wednesday after being delayed because of the Icelandic volcano.
Chantelle said: “I worry about him and Tyler all the time. I worry that Stefan won’t come back, if the planes are delayed again.
“But hopefully he will be back on Wednesday and he can see how much Tyler has changed since he last saw him.
“Stefan wasn’t here for the birth, he was on tour. He came back for R&R and saw him then, when he was 15 days old and hasn’t seen him since.”
The family wants Tyler to be fitted with a special helmet at a private clinic in Bothwell in Lanarkshire and she hopes to raise the money within eight weeks.
She added: “I only launched it the other day and got £200 straight away from friends and family.
“Now I’ve made a couple of websites and just hope people’s generosity sees us through.”
The NHS does provide help for babies with the condition, but this doesn’t include the purchase and fitting of the special helmets.
They say that there isn’t enough evidence to show any clinical benefit of the helmets and is still regarded as a cosmetic issue by experts.
Mrs Rees said: “I do feel like it’s unfair.
“We both pay our taxes for the NHS and it could make a big difference to his life.
“If we manage to raise above £2,000, the rest will go straight to a charity supporting others in our position.”
Flat head syndrome can lead to the brain being pushed to the front of the head, causing potential mobility problems.
To donate to the cause visit www.justgiving.com/Jane-Louise0.