A teenage mother claims being put on Universal Credit has stopped her being able to stay with her seriously ill child while he has surgery more than 100 miles from home.
Desperate Paige Evans, 18, has launched an appeal to raise money for a trip to a children’s hospital where her baby Brooklyn Allen will undergo an operation on his kidneys.
The mum said that due to being on Universal Credit, her and her partner are left with just £40 per fortnight spare, which means they can’t afford the cost of travel and accommodation during 10-month-old Brooklyn’s hospital stay.
The Bristol Royal Hospital for Children are providing one bed for one parent, but due to the stress of the situation, Paige says both her and his dad, Harry Allen, need to be there to support one another.
Paige, of Plymouth, Devon, said: “It’s the most horrible feeling ever that you can’t support your child. It feels like my heart is breaking.
“Why my baby?”
Brooklyn has a string of health problems, as well as hydronephrosis, which is the swelling of the kidneys due to a build-up of urine, he also has turned foot and flat head syndrome.
He had major surgery when he was first born to put stents in his kidneys, which did not work, and Paige says she is worried about going through it all again.
The surgery is planned for January 7, where the blockages in Brooklyn’s kidneys will be cut out and the organs will be reconstructed.
A GoFundMe account has now been set up so Paige, who suffers from autism, could raise £350 for travel and accommodation expenses.
She said: “We’re not just asking for money - we’re asking for support, charities and advice.
“When I went for advice at the hospital, they told me to take out a loan and because I’m only 18 and have no credit rating I can’t - and I don’t have any ID.”
Paige said she also contacted the Ronald McDonald House Charity, but was told it was “very unlikely” they would get a place due to it being near to Christmas.
The couple are on the waiting list, but will not find out until the day of Brooklyn’s surgery.
The GoFundMe page reads: “My 10-month-old little boy has to have reconstruction surgery on his kidneys in January this year, we have to travel to Bristol and back and it’s a very stressful journey for us.
“While we are up there we have to supply are own food, microwave meals or takeaway and it gets very costly.
“The hospital only provides a bed for one parent and there’s no way I will cope on my own with my baby boy going through surgery, so we have to pay for hotels, B&B’S for my partner to sleep in.
“We are on the waiting list for Ronald McDonald House but there’s a high chance we won’t get a room due to it being so busy.
“At the moment we are on really low income and can’t really afford to make it to our local hospital let alone Bristol.
“We really appreciate the support we have had through these hard times, thank you all for taking a read and for helping us out.
“I hate asking for help like this but where really struggling, and with it being his birthday month and just after Christmas it makes it even worse for us, thank you.”
To donate visit https://bit.ly/2Pknvl4