A YOUNG boy who had to abandon his sporting dreams after being struck down with a degenerative disease is having his life turned around thanks to a new wheelchair.
Eleven-year-old Henry Bowers, of Stourport-on-Severn, gave up on playing sport six months ago when a rare degenerative disease Freidriech’s Ataxia disease permanently put him a wheelchair.
But he is now able to join a wheelchair basketball club after winning him a Multisport wheelchair in a competition run by Motivation, an international disability charity that provides wheelchairs and programmes to disabled people and the UK disability charity Scope.
“I used to play sport for three hours a day after school," he said. "When I played football it would get rid of all my bad feelings, but now when I look back it makes me feel sad.
"This wheelchair will bring the happy feelings back to me again.”
The Multisport wheelchair, a sports chair designed to be used for a variety of sports, gives the once-active youngster a chance to get back on the court and rekindle his sporting ambitions.
While his friends are doing PE, Henry plays football on the computer imagining the players are him.
And even normal lessons are difficult because a weakness in his arms mean he can no longer write.
"It makes me feel sad and left out, I can’t do what everyone else can do a anymore”, he said.
His mum Debbie Heritage hopes it is a turning point in what has been an incredibly difficult few months.
“Henry is frustrated that his legs have let him down but, in true Henry style, he just straightens that backbone and gets on with it," she said. "Of all the people I know, Henry can deal with it, and turn this into a positive.”
Clare Childs, Motivation Product Manager, said: “Parents, clubs and schools want to offer as many opportunities for sport as possible, but sports kit can be pricey.
"By creating an affordable sports wheelchair, which can easily switch between different sports, Motivation hopes that a wider variety of sports will be accessed by more people like Henry.”