Mums appeal for wheelchair that will change her son’s life
A mother from Shurdington, in Cheltenham, is appealing to the public to help her secure a specialist wheelchair that will improve the health and wellbeing of her 11-year-old son, James.
Laura Andrews, says that James, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting condition that affects his movement and coordination, has outgrown his current wheelchair and is unable to sit in it for very long.
Because of the discomfort of the chair Laura is desperately trying to raise the funds needed for a new wheelchair before her son starts his secondary education at Chosen Hill School, in Churchtown, in September.
Laura says that without a new powered wheelchair her son’s school work may suffer and he could become isolated from his friends. As she explained: “James has a great attitude to life and I don’t want him to lose that.
“Without a better chair he’s starting to miss out on things and he’s staying in more which has left him with cabin fever.
“A new wheelchair will enable him to keep up with his friends, it will allow him to travel over different surfaces and help him to explore new places.
“It’s heart-breaking seeing him struggle to access things and when he goes to his new senior school in September he needs a new chair to participate in school activities.”
James loves motorsports and aeroplanes and is also a keen photographer and Laura says without a new wheelchair he may miss out on his hobbies.
“James loves taking photographs at places like Goodwood or the Royal Air Tattoo,” explained Laura. “He really enjoys being outside discovering new places and it helps him to keep a positive attitude.”
Laura and the family started fundraising for a new wheelchair for James over a year ago, and although they’ve raised over £3,000 there’s still a long way to go as the chair best suited to James’s needs costs significantly more.
“The one that we were told would be good for James costs a whopping £18,116,” exclaimed Laura. “Obviously, this is way beyond what we can afford and it’s something that isn’t funded through statutory measures.”
But now, thanks to fundraising support from Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire based national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, Laura has started a new fundraising campaign to raise the money they need to buy a state-of-the-art powerchair for her son.
“Caudwell Children has been brilliant,” she explained. “They know how important this piece of equipment is to James’ future.
“They’ve set up a special Just Giving page and have contacted other funding organisations, such as foundations, rotary clubs, and masons lodges.
“However, I’m now appealing to the public, the business community and other funders to give us a helping hand in hitting our fundraising target.
“I know it’s an awful lot of money but with the support of the community we can make life so much better for James.”
Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, said: “This piece of equipment will improve James’ life immeasurably. Unbelievably, there are 70,000 children in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment.
“I’m urging the public and business community to get behind this appeal. With their support we can ensure that James has the specialist equipment that he so desperately needs and deserves.”
You can support James through his Just Giving page here.