Football crazy Danny, from St Albans in Hertfordshire has progressive ataxia and is a wheelchair user. Unfortunately Danny was denied a powered wheelchair by his local NHS wheelchair service, so his family turned to Whizz-Kidz for support. In 2013 Danny was delighted to receive his very first powered wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz on the same day as his assessment, through the charity’s ‘Child in a Chair in a Day’ innovation.
Gavin, Danny’s father said: ‘Danny received his powered wheelchair less than a year ago and you wouldn’t believe how it has changed his life. He would be utterly heartbroken if anything ever happened to it.
‘The NHS system was holding Danny back, he deserved better. Unfortunately Danny didn’t fit into the very specific criteria to access powered wheelchairs, and that’s where Whizz-Kidz shines. The NHS didn’t see Danny as an individual; they just saw him as another number. We were concerned at how restricted Danny was in a manual wheelchair, whilst Danny dreamed of being as independent as his friends. We felt it was his right to have that sense of freedom and independence.
‘We heard about Whizz-Kidz through an Occupational Therapist at the local Children’s Centre. We couldn’t believe how fast and efficient the process was compared to our previous experiences with the NHS.
‘The communication between the Whizz-Kidz team and Danny was outstanding. They phoned a week before the appointment to explain the type of wheelchair and its functions such as the riser facility. We felt involved in the decision making process and they really listened to what Danny needed from the chair.
‘We collected the wheelchair from East London Mile End hospital. The Mobility Therapists there were brilliant, they explained everything about the chair and ensured Danny was comfortable and confident with its functions. Danny took it for a test drive and the smile on his face was fantastic.
‘Whizz-Kidz recognises the impact that the right equipment has on a young person’s life and they help young people develop into fulfilled young adults.
‘The impact the wheelchair has had on Danny’s life is incredible, you can’t put into words the independence Whizz-Kidz have given him. He no longer relies on teaching assistants to push him around from lesson to lesson, he is free to take himself off where he wants when he wants, he can keep up with his mates, we even go on bike rides and he whizzes along next to us with a big smile on his face. It has changed his life and my family’s lives.’