A little boy with pica – the eating of non-food items – will sleep soundly after well-wishers raised £1,500 for a special bed that will help keep him safe from harm.
Mum Elise Robinson, 24, thanked donors after they helped raise the money to buy a new bed for her son, Spencer, in just four hours.
Spencer, 3, who is autistic and has pica – a condition that involves the eating of non-food items – needs the bed to keep him safe, as in the past he has tried to eat dirt, stones, sticks, wires, doors, tables and wrappers, and has no sense of danger.
Elise explains: “Spencer’s pica is quite severe to the point where he’ll try to eat things from paper, wrappers and plastic, to wood, tables, doors and worst of all wires, even if they’re plugged in. He has no sense of danger, so he will eat anything.
“In his bed he needs to be contained for his own safety. He’s in a cot bed at the moment but it’s getting too small.
“I didn’t really want to set up the fundraiser because I don’t ask anything from anybody. I almost took it down twice but it just went crazy and four hours later we had it.
“The bed is four feet tall, it has windows so he can see his TV. It’s like a safe play area. We’ve got it in red which is his favourite colour, so he’ll absolutely adore it and we’ve already ordered it.
“There is no way to make a room completely safe or ‘Spencer-proof’. This bed means that he is safe and we don’t need to constantly worry that he’s at risk.
“It means he can be happy and safe at the same time.”
The money raised has been a lifeline for Elise – who has fibromyalgia and can’t work – and her partner Grant, 25, who is her carer.
‘Spencer is the most happy, fun-loving little boy’
Elise continues: “I was in tears I was just so overwhelmed. Both of my babies were premature and they’re both disabled.
“Spencer’s sister, Cassie, has cerebral palsy and because of that the fundraiser meant even more.
“I’ve always shared their stories to raise awareness.
“Spencer is the most happy, fun-loving little boy and it was really just nice to feel like people love Spencer as much as we do.”
Following the influx of donations, Elise has decided to split the excess donations between NICU Ninewells Hospital and Armistead Kings Cross, writing on the GoFundMe page that “both hospitals have been like home at times and have made our babies who they are and kept them alive”.
What is pica?
- According to Beat, pica is a feeding disorder in which someone eats non-food substances that have no nutritional value, such as paper, soap, paint, chalk, or ice.
- It affects people of all ages and genders, but usually first appears in children.
- People with pica usually don’t avoid regular food, however, some non-food items that they eat can be dangerous, especially if eaten in large quantities.
- According to the National Autistic Society, pica is a common issue for people on the autism spectrum, and there is support and more information available on their website.
- Pica also commonly affects people during pregnancy. It is unknown exactly why, but is linked to severe anaemia. Charity Tommy’s advises getting in touch with your midwife if you experience cravings of non-food items.