12-year-old Leon from Essex has a form of muscular dystrophy and is a wheelchair user. Before Leon received a powered wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz and its collaboration with the NHS, he was worried that he would be left behind by his friends. But with his new chair Leon can be his own person and through Wheelchair Skills Training, he has started to develop skills that will enable him to be more independent.

Leon says:

‘Before I received my powered wheelchair my mum had to push me around a lot of the time. I was also really worried that I would be left out at secondary school because I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my friends.  

Since having my new chair, I feel like I have been given an amazing sense of freedom. I don’t worry about my chair holding me back and, because I’m not so tired anymore, I can get more involved with everything. I take myself off to school in the mornings, I go to the park with my friends, and I am my own person.

‘Just like others my age, I like to be active and adventurous. I love going swimming and horse riding, but my absolute favourite sport is wheelchair football – my coach reckons I will be good enough to play for a league soon!

'I am also proud that I recently won the Rochford Council Citizen of the Year Award. I was nominated by my Scout leader, for being determined to do my best.

‘I was nervous about a lot of things before I went to my first Whizz-Kidz Wheelchair Skills Training session in Southend, but I gave everything a go and I am glad I did. At first, the slalom activity we did was difficult but once I did it a few times I got a lot better. Despite my nerves, by lunchtime I had made loads of new friends and during some of the games I helped out the younger children.

‘The best bit of the Wheelchair Skills Training for me was the games, especially the giant skittles and grandma’s footsteps, but I think my mum would say the road safety and the spatial awareness skills that we worked on are the most important! Although I was a bit nervous about going to Wheelchair Skills Training, I was determined to give everything a go and I got a lot out of it. At the end of the session, I spoke to James – who works for Whizz-Kidz – about signing up to my local Ambassador Club and I am really excited about going along, having fun and making some new friends.’