A young family is appealing for the help that would allow them to escape from a home that has become a prison.

Sophie and Alby Towers and their two sons were thrilled to welcome Maylee into the family on December 2 last year.

"My pregnancy had gone very well. Everything was fine until we were told that Maylee was anaemic.

She deteriorated quickly and the decision was made to send her to the RVI in Newcastle.

"She wasn't stable and had to be put on life support. We weren't able to accompany her.

"We drove to Newcastle not even sure if our baby would be alive if we got there. It was the worst moment of our lives," Sohie recalled.

The couple, from Brigham, near Cockermouth, praised the hospital staff for their efforts but said they were still initially left with no idea of what was wrong with their little girl.

The decision was made to take the risky step of carrying out further tests under anaesthetic.

These revealed that the baby had four problems: vocal chord palsy, bronchomalacia, tracheomalacia, and pulmonary hypertension.

All of these affect her ability to breathe, and therefore her heart has to work extra hard to pump blood to her lungs.

Worse was to come. After three weeks in the special care baby unit she seemed fine to go home - a wonderful Christmas present for the whole family.

After just over a week at home, Maylee seemed to deteriorate drastically and was struggling to breathe, so she was transported by ambulance to the local hospital, who again transferred her to the special baby unit in Newcastle where she remained for two months.

She was finally discharged,but not in the way her parents had expected.

She needs oxygen 24/7 and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy at night.

Her parents had to undergo training for when she has episodes of not breathing.

A dream became a nightmare.

Alby was in the army. He had just left and was due to start another job the day after Maylee was born slightly prematurely.

He was unable to start because he was now needed at home to support his wife in looking after the baby.

"Just one of the problems is that I am only five foot one and small. I can't lift the heavy oxygen cylinders we need for Maylee," Sophie said.

And that is where their house has become a prison.

They can't take their nine-year-old and three-year-old sons on any family outings because the oxygen tanks are too big and the supply only lasts a couple of hours.

Now friends have come to their aid, setting up a fundraiser to buy them a portable oxygen condenser. This is the size of a laptop and would completely change their lives.

Sophie said: "We don't know what the future holds for Maylee but we want to make sure that she and our boys have the live they deserve - and being able to get out of the house, to take the boys places will certainly help us achieve that."

The condenser costs £3,000 and spare batteries are £400 - a cost that is beyond this family but would change their lives.

"We are very grateful for this help. It would allow us to do things families take for granted," she said.

To donate go to: https://gf.me/u/yjwk5g