Mothers message of gratitude for sports wheelchair
The mother of a 13-year-old girl from Exeter, has publicly thanked Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, after they funded a specialist sports wheelchair for her daughter.
Amelia Kwiecinska has spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that makes the muscles weaker and causes problems with movement.
Amelia cannot stand or walk and is a full-time wheelchair user. Her condition has affected her social life as it makes it difficult for her to mix with other children.
In order to keep her active, and help her to make new friends, her mother Dorota, and father Rafel, introduced her to wheelchair football when she was eight-years-old.
Amelia began training with Exeter City Powerchair Football Club and she found that she had a natural talent for the sport.
She developed quickly in the game and she soon progressed to play for Cheltenham All Stars, who play in the Muscular Dystrophy UK Championship, the second tier of powerchair football.
However, until now Amelia has had to borrow one of Exeter’s spare sports chairs to play the game she loves. Unfortunately, because it’s not been made to Amelia’s personal specifications it restricts her mobility on court.
But then Dorota she found out that Caudwell Children could provide funding for specialist sports equipment
Having received a grant from The Edward Gostling Foundation (EGF), formed in 1994 to give people with a physical or mental disability the same quality of life opportunities as others, Caudwell Children is now be able to match fund specialist sports equipment for aspiring athletes for the next five years.
“I couldn’t believe it when my application was successful,” explained Dorota. “I’d been told that the specialist sports wheelchair that best suited my daughter’s needs would cost an eye watering £9,000.
“Obviously that was well outside our budget so we had resigned ourselves to being unable to buy the equipment for Amelia.
“So I can’t thank Caudwell Children enough for their support, without their help it may have been impossible for Amelia to continue playing the game.”
Amelia, a pupil at St Luke’s Sports and Science College in Exeter, trains every week, either in Exeter or Cheltenham.
“She’s incredibly dedicated and simply loves playing the game,” explained Rafal. “Every other week we have to make the four-hour round trip to Cheltenham and every eight weeks we travel to Nottingham so that she can play in the Championship.
“But she never complains and she gets a real thrill scoring goals in her position as a striker.”
Playing sport allows disabled children to enhance their social lives, gives them the opportunity to meet other children, and builds confidence and self-esteem.
“When she receives her new powered sports wheelchair, in about six weeks, Amelia will have so much more mobility on the court,” enthused Dorota. “She will be much quicker during the game, and together with her determination to succeed she’s now dreaming of getting to the top in the sport.
“Without Caudwell children she wouldn’t have had such aspirations.”
Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, says the charity was delighted to lend its support. He said: “It’s fantastic that we will be able to give Amelia the equipment that she needs to play powerchair football to the best of her abilities.
“It will improve her performance as the chair is so much lighter and she’ll be able to travel at the same speed as other players.
“It’s also much more manoeuvrable so she will be able to get around the court more easily.”
Specialist equipment that allows disabled children and young people to compete in sport can cost up to 100 times more than its equivalent in able-bodied competition.
“Cost is a huge barrier to those who want to participate,” continued Mark. “It often results in disabled children being marginalised.
“Amelia’s new chair will keep her sporting dreams alive and will improve her wellbeing.
“But it’s only with the support of the general public and our partner funders that we can provide the equipment that disabled children need and deserve, so I would urge people to support Caudwell Children.”
To find out how Caudwell Children could support your child or to make a donation visit the website here.