The expertise of a UK specialist who has transformed the lives of Islanders with severe disabilities has been secured for 2013 thanks to a donation from the Lloyds TSB Foundation.
The donation of £17,580 to the local charity, Zannah’s Trust’s Eye-Gaze Project, will enable Dr Mick Donegan to make monthly visits to Jersey to continue his work with local speech therapists, with local Health and Education professionals, and Island charities including Jersey Hospice, Headway, the Stroke Association and Jersey Cheshire Homes.
Dr Donegan is the Founder and Director of ‘SpecialEffect’ an award winning UK charity dedicated to using eye-gaze technology to transform the quality of lives of people with severe disabilities and complex communication difficulties. His expertise has enabled in the region of 20 severely disabled Islanders to enjoy a degree of independence with many only able to communicate by learning to operate specially adapted computer equipment with their eyes.
Pupils at Mont à L’Abbé School have benefitted from the Eye-Gaze Project and Dr Donegan’s previous visits to the Island as the Head Teacher, Sharon Eddie, explains: ‘Dr Mick Donegan has provided life-changing help and professional support with communication systems for a number of our multi-disabled children. We have benefited a great deal from his expertise and commitment in the past and we are delighted that he will be able to continue this work next year.’
Zannah’s Trust was established in 2009 by Andy and Chris Pemberton in memory of their daughter who died, aged 23, two-and-a-half years after sustaining head injuries in a roller-blading accident. Dr Donegan’s specialist treatment and his eye-gaze technology, coupled with Zannah’s passion for life and determination – and the loving support of her family and friends – made her final years an inspiration to others.
The Trust extends Dr Donegal’s specialised work in the UK and Europe to the Channel Islands, ensuring that the very best technology for those most in need is available locally.
Andy Pemberton said they were grateful to the Lloyds TSB Foundation for this most generous donation to enable Zannah’s Trust to continue its vital work.
The Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands has donated in excess of £10 million to charities in the Channel Islands, the UK and overseas since it’s inception in 1985. The Chairman of the local foundation is Jurat Stephen Jones and the Executive Director is John Hutchins.
Mr Hutchins said: ‘We are delighted to have been a position to support one of the smaller Jersey Charities which does so much excellent work in helping those suffering with severe disabilities.’