Daniel, from the North East, found it difficult to get an appropriate wheelchair from the NHS and had to rely on his family to push him around. He now uses a powered wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz and is an independent student studying at Newcastle University.
‘In the past I struggled to get the mobility equipment I needed from the NHS, and after numerous consultations I eventually received two manual wheelchairs. However, the second wheelchair was not suitable for me – even though I had been promised a very different chair. What I received was too heavy; I couldn’t self-propel, parts of the chair were so low that I couldn’t go up curbs and even my family found it difficult to push me in it.
‘My NHS physiotherapist and occupational therapist recommended Whizz-Kidz and I really liked their consultation process. They asked questions about my whole life, like what I do in my spare time and what my plans were for University, and then in 2007 I finally received a wheelchair that really suited my needs.
‘Having the right equipment has improved my health – thanks to the special seating of my powered wheelchair, my posture has been maintained and, as a result, I will not need the spinal operation that using my NHS chair would have led to. There have been lots of social benefits to having the right wheelchair, but what it really means to me is independence. I can go where I want, I can use the riser function on my chair to get to the same height as my friends and can sit at a normal desk. It has even improved my family life. We can go outside, venture off-track and enjoy outings like every family should.
‘Having a powered chair has been incredible, but the friendship, life skills and training that Whizz-Kidz offers is the icing on the cake! I’ve participated in important meetings with policy makers, making a difference to the lives of other people with disabilities. And the work experience that the Work Placements scheme helped me to secure at Beamish Museum has now led to me being asked to become a volunteer. It has given me skills and experience that helped me to get into university, and will also be useful for getting jobs and a career in the future.
‘I think it’s really important that everyone makes sure they live their life to the full, without thinking that barriers like disability will stop you. There is always a way to get past barriers, and once you figure out how, you can do anything!'