‘Incredible’ wheelchair gives teen new lease of life

Penny Southall with son Daniel Hanson in his new wheelchair
Penny Southall with son Daniel Hanson in his new wheelchair

A new powered wheelchair has given an 18-year-old Worthing College student a new lease of life after a year of fundraising.

Grants from Children Today and the Joseph Patrick Trust, combined with donations from friends, family and generous strangers, have meant Daniel Hanson could finally buy his much-needed new wheelchair, costing £24,000.

Mum Penny Southall said: “Daniel had used his previous chair since he was just 13 years old, so he had really outgrown it.

“It was not only uncomfortable for him but also we knew that getting a replacement would be incredibly expensive as powered wheelchairs cost thousands of pounds.

“We also knew that we were under pressure to find funding before his birthday, as there is far less funding for over 18 year olds for equipment like this.”

Penny and Daniel put out an appeal in the Worthing Herald as part of their campaign and applied to a large number of charities for help, as NHS Wheelchair Services does not provide funding for this type of chair.

Daniel has the progressive muscle-wasting condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is reliant on a powered wheelchair to get around.

Penny said: “This new wheelchair really has had a hugely positive impact on Daniel.

“He’s unable to move his legs due to his condition so this wheelchair has a variety of positions and tilt options that help keep him comfortable throughout the day. He’s even able to lie down in it, so it’s much better for his physiotherapy.

“The wheelchair has also been incredible for his confidence as it’s given him so much independence. He now goes to college on his own and is much less restricted in what he does or where he goes as this wheelchair’s better suspension means he’s much more secure.

“This chair is also much quicker, in fact sometimes we can’t keep up with him, and we even have heat pads that plug in to keep him warm, so he’s more comfortable when he goes to watch his favourite football team, Brighton and Hove Albion.

“I’m so proud of Daniel as he’s such a strong and resilient man. He has no idea how amazing he is and getting this new wheelchair really has been a significantly positive landmark for him.”

Children Today provides funds for specialised equipment for children and young people up to the age of 25, such as trikes, bikes, wheelchairs and sensory equipment.

Chief executive Ben Partridge said: “As a small charity, we’re incredibly proud of the work we do as we help young people with disabilities enjoy activities or a lifestyle that other people take for granted through the funding for equipment we provide.

“Whether it’s a powered wheelchair like Daniel’s, which has massively boosted his independence and quality of life, or a specialist trike to let a young child enjoy riding their bike with their siblings, these pieces of equipment give them the opportunity to achieve their potential and can change their lives.”

To donate to Children Today, call on 01244 335622 or visit www.childrentoday.org.uk

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{https://www.worthingherald.co.uk/news/worthing-mum-is-fundraising-for-son-s-essential-new-wheelchair-1-7993988/|Worthing mum is fundraising for son’s essential new wheelchair]