Sports wheelchair appeal for York teenager
A 13-year-old boy from Dringhouses, in York, is desperately trying to raise the funds needed to buy a bespoke sports wheelchair that will enable him to continue playing the sport that he loves.
Hayden Lambert, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that results in muscle degeneration, has been playing wheelchair football since 2013. The York High School pupil has quickly established himself as a talented member of the Jorvik Warriors Powerchair Football Club, based in the city. Lyn Clarke, Club Secretary, says he is one of the clubs star players and an inspiration to his team mates. Many in the sport believe that he has a bright future in game. However, in order to progress in the sport he needs a specialist sports wheelchair that would give him greater movement and speed on court.
As his mother, Sarah, 41-years-old, explained:
“Hayden wants to compete at a higher level. However, to play in the regional league he needs a higher specification sports wheelchair. Without it the rules don’t permit him to play above county level. He currently has to borrow a chair which, unfortunately, doesn’t fit him properly. It’s a little like a footballer wearing someone else’s undersized boots, it can be uncomfortable and painful. He would benefit so much from a higher specification, bespoke, sports wheelchair.”
Without a new chair Hayden fears he may have to give up the game he loves. As he explained:
“I’m extremely ambitious and my aim is to progress through the regional league to the national league. However, players at that level are using high specification wheelchairs that give them extra speed and freedom of movement. The only way that I can compete with them is by acquiring a wheelchair that would give me the same agility.”
Sarah was told by coaches that an Invacare Special Powerchair, would meet her son’s needs. Unfortunately, there is a considerable financial barrier to the family purchasing the chair.
“The chair is perfectly designed to improve Hayden’s performance on court,” said Sarah. “However, whilst we know it would take him to the next level these chairs don’t come cheap and at £4,654 it’s way beyond our budget.”
But now, thanks to fundraising support from Caudwell Children, Hayden and his parents have started a campaign to help them raise the money needed for a new chair.
As Sarah explained: “Caudwell Children has already helped us to contact a number of different organisations including charities, grant giving bodies, rotary clubs and masons lodges. However, I want to appeal to the public and business community and ask them to give us a helping hand. With their support I believe my son could go far in the game.”
Sarah says her son deserves the public’s support due to his dedication and commitment to the sport. She said: “He trains with the Warriors every other week and in-between he completes a 107 mile round trip to practice with Rotherham Wasps.
“But all the travel is worth it because we do it all as a family. Hayden’s 15-year-old brother Nathan, and his 6-year-old sister Erin, come with me and his dad, Martin. Nathan’s even taken to coaching some of the lads and Erin loves getting in one of the chairs herself and having a go. It’s a great day out for us all and we get to meet other families like us, it’s a real social network.”
Before he discovered wheelchair football Hayden had a number of bad falls that damaged his confidence, but Sarah say’s the game has given him back some of his self-esteem.
“He was becoming quiet and isolated but thankfully football has returned a smile to his face. He just beams when he’s playing; it gives him some of his independence back. I simply don’t know how Hayden or the family will cope if he has to give up the game!”
Trudi Beswick, Chief Executive for Caudwell Children, said:
“This piece of equipment will improve Hayden’s game and keep his dream of playing at a higher level alive. Unbelievably, there are 70,000 children in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment, including specialist sports wheelchairs. I’m urging the public and business community to get behind this appeal. With their support we can ensure that Hayden has the specialist equipment that he so desperately needs to continue playing the game he loves.”
You can support Hayden through his Just Giving page here.
You can also text to donate by texting:HAYD88 £amount to 70070