Memory of brave four-year-old girl inspires police officers to help charity

Kind-hearted police officers have donated specialist equipment to a charity which support families with a rare genetic condition.

By Tom Patterson
Wednesday, 14 August, 2019, 06:00
Lucy Mathieson, who died of Niemann-Pick disease in 2007 when she was aged just four.

Washington-based Niemann-Pick UK (NPUK) supports individuals and families affected by Niemann-Pick disease, a rare condition which affects the body’s ability to metabolise fats causing progressive deterioration.

Police staff member Melanie Reynolds lost her god daughter, Lucy Mathieson, from Washington, to the condition in 2007 when she was just four-year-old, and has helped fundraise for the small charity ever since.

An application to the Northumbria Police Charities Trust, which supports a wide range of community groups and vulnerable individuals across the force area, resulted in the provision of a number of noise-cancelling headphones.

Superintendent Barrie Joisce (left) and community engagement officer Nichola Jewels (right) present the headphones to Niemann-Pick UK representatives John Lee Taggart and Christine Jopling.

Melanie said: “The easiest way to explain the condition is that it is like Alzheimer’s. Dementia is one of the many terrible symptoms – except this disease affects not just adults but also babies and children.

“There is currently no cure – and those affected can suffer a host of symptoms including being sensitive to noise, which can cause a lot of confusion and distress.”

“I thought it would be a dream come true if the Trust could purchase a few pairs of specialist headphones as a way of helping those who live with this rare condition.”

Representatives from NPUK were recently presented with the newly-acquired equipment.

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There they were met by Superintendent Barrie Joisce and community engagement officer Nichola Jewels.

Supt Joisce said: “As a force, we care deeply about the communities we serve and the Northumbria Police Charities Trust exists to help groups and individuals in need.

“It was a pleasure to meet with those at Niemann-Pick UK and learn more about the condition and their valuable work in the local community.”

NPUK communications officer John Lee Taggart said: “Like the large majority of rare diseases, most people have never even heard of it and, as a result, our charity receives no Government funding.

“We rely entirely on voluntary grants, fundraisers, and kind donations such as those provided by Northumbria Police.

“On behalf of everyone at NPUK I want to say a huge thank you to the whole team; your donation will make a massive difference.”

To find out more NPUK, visit https://www.npuk.org/niemann-pick-disease/.