Whizz-Kidz works with the NHS to provide disabled children and young people with appropriate mobility equipment at the right time, making an immediate and life changing difference. Perhaps most importantly, we give disabled young people, like Jamie, the freedom to be themselves.
Jamie is 13 years old and uses his wheelchair and two prosthetic limbs to get about. He loves playing wheelchair basketball (pictured above with his own sports wheelchair) and like a lot of teenagers, Jamie admits he can be very competitive. But Jamie and his Mum, Melissa say that life would have been very different if it wasn’t for Whizz-Kidz and its collaboration with the NHS, who together gave Jamie a new lightweight wheelchair.
Jamie's mum, Melissa, says:
‘Before Jamie received his manual wheelchair, he assumed that sport was not for him. He was a quiet boy who didn’t feel comfortable talking about his disability. He let other children push his chair around school, whilst really wanting to push himself. He had to sit on the sidelines, imagining playing basketball rather than getting stuck in.
'In 2012, Jamie visited our local NHS wheelchair service run by Whizz-Kidz and spoke to a Whizz-Kidz Mobility Therapist called Rebecca. Rebecca assessed Jamie clinically, took his measurements and asked Jamie about where we live, what we do as a family and the sort of things he enjoys. I really appreciated that Rebecca made every effort to find out about Jamie and our family’s lives, so she had a complete picture when selecting Jamie’s new wheelchair. I was impressed that every consideration was made to get Jamie the right wheelchair. His new wheelchair gives him flexibility that he never had before which lets him be active and independent, for example the wheels on his chair move on the axel so you can have them backwards or forwards depending on whether Jamie is playing sports or using it for everyday activities.
'Through Whizz-Kidz Jamie has also attended a Wheelchair Skills Training session in Essex. This gave him the confidence and skills to use his new wheelchair properly and safely. In addition he represented the charity during ITV’s Text Santa appeal in December 2012 by appearing on TV and he has made lots of friends at a Whizz-Kidz Ambassador Club. Some of those friends will stay with him for a long time.
'I think the most important life change that has happened since Jamie got his new wheelchair is that he has taken up wheelchair basketball and has joined a great team. They are doing really well this season. Jamie now attends three training sessions a week to stay at the top of his game and Jamie’s Dad and I sometimes join in the fun too if there are spare sports wheelchairs and they need a few extra players! It’s great to do it as a family.'
Jamie's story is just one example of how Whizz-Kidz's approach to wheelchair provision can work within the NHS and benefit disabled children. We want to roll out our approach across the UK so more disabled young people have the chance of an active childhood and the opportunity to fulfil their potential just like Jamie.