Parents fundraise to give baby head start

DEDICATED Manchester parents Rebecca Drane and Anthony Leathley are holding a sponsored walk to raise money for HeadStart4Babies, after their youngest son, Ethan was diagnosed with plagiocephaly at just four months old.

Ethan teacup - use this one

Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome is a condition characterised by an asymmetrical distortion (flattening of one side) of the skull. The condition will sometimes improve as the baby grows, but in many cases, treatment can significantly improve the shape of the baby’s head.


Treatment for plagiocephaly is a cranial helmet – not available on the NHS and at a cost of £1,950.

Anthony, 29 said: ” Babies should be a priority in the NHS regardless of what the condition is and how it affects them.

“The NHS class this as a cosmetic issue, but what is having bigger breasts or a straighter nose?”

Worn for 23 hours-per-day, for between three to six months, the helmet is made to measure by a company called Technology in Motion. Lightweight and adjustable, the helmet works by gently reshaping the baby’s head bones as they grow, allowing it to return to a more natural shape.

Rebecca and Anthony are keen to raise the money as soon as possible so that Ethan can begin the treatment they say dramatically helped his brother, Mason who was also diagnosed with plagiocephaly as a baby.

As a baby, Mason’s condition meant that his head was mis-alligned by 18mm, classed as severe in plagiocephaly terms. Fundraising for treatment, Rebecca organised a social night at Sacred Heart Parish Centre and the couple also received a generous donation from HeadStart4Babies.

Mason was fitted for a cranial helmet and, over time, the mis-allignment of his head has been reduced to a barely noticeable 3mm.


Fundraising for Ethan to be fitted for a helmet is underway and the proud parents have organised a sponsored walk.

On October 19, 2013, they will meet at Wythenshawe Hall at 10.30am and plan to walk to Manchester Airport, raising both much needed funds and awareness. All are welcome and the couple are hoping to reach their target of £1950, the cost of a cranial helmet.

If Ethan doesn’t have the treatment he needs he may develop further disfigurement to his face and this can also lead to learning difficulties later in life.

Rebecca, 24 said: ” It is awful that the NHS don’t help children like Ethan with their treatment as it’s very difficult for families like us to raise this amount of money.

“We are determined that Ethan will get the treatment he needs. I couldn’t live with myself if his condition was left untreated and got worse, and then had to be corrected when he is too old for a helmet. This would mean him having an operation, which if we can avoid, we will no matter what it costs.

“Ethan is such a happy baby and he always has a smile on his face.”

For more information on plagiocephaly and the support offered by HeadStart4Babies visit the website at

To help with Ethan’s treatment please go to Rebecca’s JustGiving page, every donation appreciated.

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