09 Jun All-terrain chair will be life-changer
A TEENAGE wheelchair user will finally be part of the “cool gang” thanks to June’s Go Bananas fundraising drive.
Part of the money raised during The Chronicle Sunshine Fund’s annual appeal will help provide 15-year-old Elliot Caswell with a life-changing stand-up all-terrain wheelchair.
The Tynemouth youngster’s cerebral palsy quadriplegia means he has limited independence due to his NHS wheelchair being difficult to manoeuvre in and out of classes at Marden High School.
But the new £20,000 mobility aid would allow him to stand up when out and about.
Mum Chris, dad Jonathan and twin brother Lewis – who has the less severe paraplegia – want to give Elliot the chance to go out with friends.
Full-time carer Chris, 51, said: “Our nearest Metro is Tynemouth, but because of the gap at this station the small wheels on his NHS wheelchair get stuck in the gap between the train and the platform.
“He is also starting to come home from school by himself and the more robust chair would allow him to feel more confident with curbs and bumps he can’t negotiate currently.
“The sit-to-stand ability will enable him to socialise with his friends face to face, at their height, and allow him to access things in shops and counters in cafes, banks and pubs in years to come.
“He could go out with friends, he would be confident he could overcome obstacles. He would be part of the ‘cool gang’.”
The standing chair would also help Elliot’s health by maintaining straight legs and aiding weight bearing, spinal care, posture and digestion.
The Go Bananas appeal aims to raise £50,000 during June, through a range of activities and collections, so the charity can provide specialist equipment to 10 disabled North East children and The Percy Hedley Foundation.
Chris added: “It is an extravagantly expensive chair but it is the only one that does the job.
“Without the amazing support of people in the North East we could never afford it. We’re so grateful.”
To donate to Go Bananas, visit justgiving.com/Go-Bananas-June