A FINDON youngster has received a new powered wheelchair which he says has changed his life.
Daniel Southall, 14, of Findon Valley, has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that degenerates the muscles.
It has left him unable to stand or use his legs actively and the function in his arms is also reduced.
But his quality of life has been improved, thanks to a donation from national charity Caudwell Children, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
The charity donated £14,000 in order to purchase the specialist chair for Daniel, which was topped up by a £1,800 donation from the Jospeh Patrick Trust and the remaining £2,200 from a trust set up by family friends.
Before he received it, the only way that Daniel could stand was to be hoisted into a stander, wearing a physio suit, which meant he had to leave his classroom before being manoeuvred.
Daniel, a pupil at Angmering School, said: “My new wheelchair makes life so much easier. I can also stand in my chair which is a lot better than using the horrible standing frame, which I could only use once a week. Now I can stand every day.
“Sometimes, I used to get wound up by not being able to do simple things, like not being able to see, or watch something that is too high, but now that can be done easily, which makes me really happy.”
Daniel’s mother, Penny Southall, a senior scientific officer, said: “This has made such a massive difference to our lives as a family.
“Dan had a standard NHS wheelchair before but this one is a lot faster so he can keep up with his little brothers, and it has lots of health benefits.
“The new chair allows him to stand up so now, in a crowd, he’s no longer lost in a sea of people.
“He loves playing Boccia, a disability version of bowls, and the chair is perfect for adjusting his height which allows him to compete much more easily. “The chair is also motivating him to stand, which is a huge physical and emotional bonus for him.
“What people struggle to understand is that disability affects the whole family.
“But now, thanks to the new chair, we can do so much more together and seeing Daniel chase after his brothers, when they’re zipping about on their scooters, is magical.”
Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, said: “This piece of equipment will have a profound effect on Daniel’s life.
“Unbelievably, there are 70,000 children in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment. But it’s only thanks to generous donations from members of the public that we can support children like Daniel.”
To find out more information go to www.caudwellchildren.com