Darcey from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire has cerebral palsy and is a powered chair user. Prior to 2013, Darcey had been provided with wheelchairs through her local NHS wheelchair service in Nottinghamshire, but was left sorely dissatisfied. As a result, Darcey and her family applied to Whizz-Kidz and received her new powered wheelchair on the day of her assessment, known as the ‘Child in a Chair in a Day’ innovation.
Sonia, Darcey’s mum said:
'My family had an uphill battle with the Nottinghamshire Wheelchair Service, we had to fight for Darcey’s independence as well as her health.
'We had to jump through many hoops with the NHS. We fought for a powered wheelchair that would grant Darcey the independence she craved and eventually we received a powered chair but Darcey grew out of it very quickly. We were told it wouldn't be replaced and for a long time Darcey was in a chair that was not suitable for her.
'The generalised blanket of criteria that the NHS uses is simply unrealistic. Unlike Whizz-Kidz they do not consider the real life needs of the individual. They did not recognise the practical elements such as the size of Darcey’s secondary school, the distances between classes, or any uphill distance.
'There are children out there who can't have a powered wheelchair because they can self-propel a short distance. We, as parents, encourage our children to be the best they can possibly be and to push themselves. However, they are then penalized by the NHS because they don’t seem to consider that children can tire easily and can only manage short distances. Surely the goal is for every child to be as independent as possible.
'The NHS wheelchair services in Nottinghamshire were quick to judge and moved the goal posts to restrict the availability of a powered wheelchair for my daughter, as a result they restrict the opportunities for a young person to gain independence, improve their confidence and widen the circle that they live in.
'Thanks to Whizz-Kidz and Darcey’s new powered wheelchair this has all begun to change. If Darcey hadn't received a chair from Whizz-Kidz her life inside and outside school would not be as full and rewarding as it is now. The freedom, the independence, the real sense of normality; Darcey is now able to do what everyone else is doing.
'Whizz-Kidz thought about everything Darcey could need and kept in touch with us throughout the application process. When Darcey got her new chair on the day of her assessment it blew us away.”
'Thanks to Whizz-Kidz I am a lot more independent, especially at school as I don’t have to stay with teaching assistants anymore.
'The best bit of the chair is the riser, I can raise myself up to the science desks, I can get my clothes out of my wardrobe and I can play basketball with my friends as the riser gives me a chance to shoot.
'I am leading a happy and active life thanks to my Whizz-Kidz chair. I am also a member of the Nottingham Ambassador Club, where I have made lots of friends and have lots of fun with other wheelchair users.'