Shrewsbury parents appeal for wheelchair
The parents of 18-year-old young man from Bicton Heath, in Shrewsbury, are appealing to the public to help them secure a specialist wheelchair that will improve the career chances of their son.
Oliver Burrows, who is studying Horticulture at Derwen College’s Oswestry campus, has bilateral cerebral palsy, a condition that affects his mobility and has left him a permanent wheelchair user.
Now in his second year at the college Oliver has to access a woodlands area to study horticultural land maintenance, but unfortunately his current wheelchair can’t travel over the rough ground and gravel in the wooded expanse.
“Oliver has a real love of gardening and really enjoys being outside,” said his mother Deborah, aged 50. “He’s picked it up from me and his Nan, who has a small holding.
“We grow our own vegetables, like pumpkins, potatoes and courgettes, so it was a natural progression that Oliver chose horticulture as a career path.
“But I’m really worried that without the correct specialist equipment his career could be over before it’s begun!”
Oliver also has to attend work experience one day a week at the local cemetery but his wheelchair gets bogged down in the gravel and he is unable to move.
“Without a new, specialist, powered wheelchair I’m struggling to see how Oliver can complete his course and further his career,” exclaimed Deborah.
Oliver’s father Mike, aged 52, says that having researched what powerchair would best suit their sons needs he and Deborah discovered that there was a significant financial barrier to them buying the equipment.
“The most suitable chair for Oliver costs a whopping £15,011,” explained Mike. “As you can imagine that’s way beyond our budget.
“It’s heart-breaking knowing that we can’t afford to buy a chair that would be so life changing for him.
”The new wheelchair would not only allow him to access the facilities at his college, and help him to get the degree that he desperately wants, it would also allow him to enjoy other activities, like family days out on the beach, and walking the dog with his 13-year-old brother Charlie.”
Deborah and Mike had resigned themselves to being unable to buy the powerchair for Oliver but then a friend told them about Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
And now, thanks to fundraising support from the charity, the pair have started a new fundraising campaign to raise the money they need to buy a state-of-the-art powerchair for their son.
“Caudwell Children has been superb,” explained Deborah. “They know how important this piece of equipment is to Oliver’s future.
“They’ve set up a special Just Giving page and have contacted other funding organisations, such as foundations, rotary clubs, and mason’s lodges.
“Our friends have raised £600 towards the wheelchair but the charity is determined to help us hit our target. However, I’m now appealing to the public, the business community, and other funders to give us a helping hand in raising the money that we need.
“I know it’s an awful lot of money but with their support we can make life so much better for Oliver.”
Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, said: “This piece of equipment will improve Oliver’s life immeasurably. Unbelievably, there are 70,000 children and young people 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 Oliver has the specialist equipment that he so desperately needs and deserves, and which will allow him to have the career that he dreams of.”
You can support Oliver through his Just Giving page here.