Malachi has a very rare form of muscular dystrophy, which means that his muscles are low toned. He can’t walk and it makes him very tired – for example, if he has to hold his hand up for a long time at school to answer a question.
Malachi’s mum, Sam, says:
'Malachi started off with a manual chair from the NHS, but the self-propelling motion would tire him out, so he wouldn’t get very far and he’d have to rely on adults to push him around.
'Children of his own age were off toddling about, running around and getting away quicker than he could, so he couldn’t keep up if he wanted to play tag or chase about. As a result he was a bit withdrawn from children his own age unless they were sitting or not moving round. If they were going out and playing or going on the trampoline, he’d prefer to sit with the adults.
'It was heartbreaking not being able to see him do things that other children were doing. We went to birthday parties and I tried my best to involve him, but even though Malachi enjoyed being there, he realised his limitations.
'We were very keen for Malachi to go to mainstream school. Our NHS muscular dystrophy consultant was amazing in responding to Malachi and our whole family’s needs and said that the best thing for Malachi would be to have a powered wheelchair. At another consultation, she told us about Whizz-Kidz.
'The Whizz-Kidz therapists were really lovely, really good with Malachi and they gave us loads of information. They took time to find out about his character and our family, and understood what he’d want from his wheelchair. He wanted one that was cool – and straight away they had a chair in mind. Malachi is more than just his disability, and I wanted his chair to be a talking point, not something he had to be ashamed of. Instead of people seeing a child in a chair and thinking "that’s a shame", they’d see him whizz past and say, "Wow, have you seen that little boy in that chair?"
'His new powered chair was delivered really quickly and Malachi was instantly a happier little boy. One of the best bits is that he can raise his seat to the same height as an adult, so people don’t have to bend down to hear him. The chair also has tilt-in-space, so if he’s been out for a long day he can lie back, which is really good for his posture because it means he’s not in the same position all the time. This means fewer visits to the GP, and overall he’s much healthier. He can also get into much smaller spaces as his chair pivots around in the same spot – space isn’t always great in places like home, school and shopping centres, so that’s made it a lot easier for him to get around. Having a powered wheelchair has brought Malachi on loads. He can race off when he wants to – just like other children – and he can keep up with other children and adults. It’s really boosted his confidence.'