Like a lot of teenage boys Connor is very passionate about sports. He loves golf, football and rugby, and not just as a spectator either – he likes to keep active and has been playing wheelchair rugby for around 5 years. However, one thing holding Connor back from being a consistent and dedicated member of a team was not having his own sports wheelchair
“I first started playing wheelchair rugby around the time of the London 2012 Paralympics. I really enjoyed it and I knew straight away that I wanted to play the sport more seriously, but it was difficult because I didn’t have my own personal sports wheelchair. Every time I went to practice I would have to borrow an adult wheelchair and it was really quite difficult for me. The adult wheelchair was too big, so it was uncomfortable and made it difficult for me to manoeuvre properly. It was frustrating because it was stopping me from playing at the level I wanted to.”
Connor’s mum knew how important this was for her son, and having previously received support from Whizz-Kidz, she made contact once again to see if they could help.
“Connor received his first ever wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz when he was just four years old, so we have known about the charity for a long time. We just had no idea that he could also apply for a sports wheelchair. We were actually in the process of starting an online fundraising campaign to get Connor a chair when a friend suggested we get in touch with Whizz-Kidz again. I’m so glad I did because once we made initial contact the process was so smooth.
“What made a real difference was having the support of the therapists. They worked with us really closely to make sure Connor got the right kind of wheelchair, and there was always someone on hand if we needed any advice. We wouldn’t have had that kind of support if we had been crowdfunding”
“When I first received my wheelchair, all I can remember is how happy I was. I want to play for Team GB myself when I am older and I hopefully this sports wheelchair will help me take my skills to the next level” Connor, 13
Connor received his new sports wheelchair in May 2017 and already it has had a huge impact, not just on his sporting development but his confidence too.
“When I first received my wheelchair, all I can remember is how happy I was. It sounds silly but I couldn’t believe I had a sports wheelchair to call my own after such a long time. I train once a week with the junior team at Southampton Solent now and as well as learning lots of new skills I’ve made lots of new friends. I am a lot more confident than when I started and I can feel myself getting better at the sport.
“I feel admiration and pride when playing for Solent Sharks because Aaron Phipps and Myles Pearson play for the adult division of the team and they were part of the Team GB Wheelchair Rugby squad at London 2012. I want to play for Team GB myself when I am older and I hopefully this sports wheelchair will help me take my skills to the next level”
Connors Mum Sue said: “Receiving this wheelchair was the first real step in Connors journey towards playing rugby on a higher level. He has also just picked his GCSE’s and one of the subjects he is most excited about is PE. He’s only young and hasn’t fully decided what he wants to do when he is older. But whether he wants to go down the business side of sports yet or perhaps pursue wheelchair rugby, the most important thing is that he now has options and has more control himself in deciding his future.”