‘There was a long wait on the NHS to get assessed for a wheelchair and I had to attend quite a few consultations before I could even get one. Not only that, but the lady who was meant to be helping me to get a chair actually made me feel worse about everything and it became an uncomfortable experience. I was always being told that the chair would help me, but the one I received was too heavy to push around, it was damaging my shoulders and I didn’t feel like I could be fully independent at all.
‘It was a completely different experience with Whizz-Kidz; they wanted to find out from me what I wanted from my wheelchair and I felt really involved in the process. The wheelchair I received is great! I’m now more independent – I get to go out and do what I want to do, go to college, socialise and have fun. As well as giving me my chair, Whizz-Kidz have been an even bigger part of my life and joining the Whizz-Kidz community has been a great opportunity for me to get involved in many different things.
‘As soon as a spot became available, I became a Kidz Board member for my region. The Kidz Board discusses and raises awareness of issues that affect young disabled people, and I feel like our work is having a big impact on the wider community. For example, before the 2012 Olympics we had a travel briefing with the event organisers, and our work actually informed their transport plans and allowed other disabled people to enjoy the event and get there safely.
‘All the things I have done with Whizz-Kidz has helped me on a personal level too. For example at the Norwich Ambassador Club, I've made lots of friends and have fun with other wheelchair users. The club has also helped my communication skills and confidence.
'One of the best things about having a lightweight chair from Whizz-Kidz is that is easier for me to drive my car because I can move more freely and dismantle my chair. This means I have more time to fit in college, basketball and my activities with Whizz-Kidz!’
- Joel featured on BBC's Newsround talking about Whizz-Kidz's 'Generation Inspired?' campaign
- As part of his role as a Kidz Board member, Joel visited Glasgow's Hampden Park for a game of Boccia