We know that often the best advice comes from chatting to other families. Whizz-Kidz is passionate about bringing families together in an online and offline community so parents don't ever have to feel alone.
This is Ruth's parents story.
Jacquie and Geoff know more than most about Whizz-Kidz, having been connected to the charity for over twenty years. Their daughter, Ruth (pictured below) received her first wheelchair from us when she was five. Now, as an adult, she is the Work Placements Manager at Whizz-Kidz.
‘A Whizz-Kidz Parents Network is such a good idea. Bringing up a disabled child is a unique experience and it can be very isolating. I look back and there’s so much important information, which often I didn’t find out about until we overheard it in hospital waiting rooms.
'A place where parents with similar experiences can swap ideas about how best to support their children and gain information about practical things would be invaluable to our family. Whizz-Kidz understands my family’s needs and I think they are in a great position to set up a Parents Network. Whizz-Kidz has played an important part in my family’s life.
'We first came across the charity over twenty years ago when my daughter, Ruth, was just five years old. Then, she was using a heavy NHS wheelchair that was impossible for her to move around in by herself. We got in contact with Whizz-Kidz and soon after a Mobility Therapist assessed Ruth and gave her a pink manual wheelchair. We will never forget that day and I’m sure Ruth won’t either. But that was just the start of all the amazing things to come with Whizz-Kidz. During Ruth’s time with the charity she has been involved with the Manchester Ambassador Club, the Kidz Board, had a Work Placement, represented the charity on TV and in newspapers, she now even works there! With Whizz-Kidz, Ruth has gone from being completely dependent on others to self-sufficient.’
‘Once we got involved with Whizz-Kidz, all of the problems we’d had with NHS chairs were just taken away. Whizz-Kidz chairs are fitted to that specific person, which has a huge impact. Whilst the NHS is getting better, there is still a long way to go.
'We had a lot of ups and downs when Ruth was growing up. Like many young wheelchair users Ruth faced scary challenges such as illness and surgery, as well as the daily complications of being a disabled person in our society. In the hard times, it really helps to talk to someone in a similar situation. We spoke to parents of disabled children when we took Ruth to Kidz Board meetings and it gave us a sense of solidarity with others, but there was little time to chat, so it was hard to build up lasting relationships. Sometimes we think of people we’ve met in the past and wonder how they’re getting on.’
‘My advice to parents of disabled children is stay strong and fight a good fight. Tap into as much information as you can and if you are able to take advantage of Whizz-Kidz’s new Parents Network then that’s great!’
Read more about Jacquie and Geoff's daughter, Ruth.