Published: 16:17, 15 June 2021
| Updated: 16:19, 15 June 2021
Generous well-wishers donated more than £2,500 in less than 48 hours to buy a special helmet to help a baby born with a flat head.
Delivered at 35 weeks and weighing just 3lbs 11oz, Willow Drew's condition can be corrected with the aid of the head-ware, which is designed to remould her bones.
Now nearly one, she will have to wear it 23 out of 24 hours a day and will be monitored by a specialist clinic in London.
The plastic and foam product, which is not available on the NHS, is modified monthly during the child's early years.
Mum Alisha Drew said: "We are overwhelmed with the response in such a short time. We can't thank people enough."
She and husband Glen, 28, of Charter Street, Gillingham, learnt of Willow's condition after a 12-week scan.
The 30-year-old, who is also mum to Dylan, 11, and Sophia, eight, said: "The helmet is so important for Willow.
"We'd obviously like to give her the best chance in correcting the shape of her skull before it's too late."
She was fitted for the helmet at the clinic today.
Flat-head syndrome has two main types: plagiocephaly – the head is flattened on one side, and brachycephaly – where the back of the head becomes flattened, causing it to widen, with the forehead occasionally bulging out.
Willow has both of these.
Alisha added: "These problems are quite common on their own, affecting around one in every five babies at some point.
"And in most cases it's not a cause for concern as there are natural things you can try to do, like changing the baby's head position.
"But in some cases natural ways just don't help at all, which is where helmets come in to it.
"Helmet therapy involves having the baby wear a custom-made helmet that will gently help reform the skull into a symmetrical shape over time.
"This isn't funded by the NHS, as they see it as only a cosmetic issue. So parents have to come up with the £2,000 or more, on their own, either through fundraising, or there are charities that help with grants towards the payment, or help you with your own fundraising.
"In Willow's case, wearing a helmet could take up to a year, or more, depending on her growth.
"As Willow gets older and her head shape is more noticeable, people do stare, and some do ask questions, which of course is a good time to tell them about flat-head syndrome and spread awareness on the causes, and affects.
"It can be quite daunting to know your baby's skull isn't forming the way it should be, and the hospitals brush it off as being normal and will tell you as the baby grows the skull will change.
"But that's not always the case, and you can feel like your concerns are not being listened to, it can become quite frustrating.
"I will say that if you are worried about your baby's head shape, you can send a message with pictures of your baby's head to
'Ahead4babies' and they will let you know what they think.
"Myself and Glen are so happy with the company and we're glad I've chosen them to help with Willow."