Variety sports wheelchair recipients represent Britain in Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, winning five medals

Variety is proud to have been able to support many aspiring young athletes over the years. We were thrilled to see nine of these sports stars representing Britain at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, where they won an astonishing five medals between them.

Please note that, due to limited funds, Variety currently only provides sports wheelchairs in exceptional circumstances, such as if an applicant has a track record of commitment and involvement in a sport with the potential to participate in national or international competitions.

Karé Adenegan – para-athletics

Kare Adenegan competing in the World para athletics championships in 2017

Karé Adenegan competing in the World Para Athletics Championships in London in 2017 

Karé Adenegan Variety Ambassador

Karé was made a Variety Young Ambassador in 2014

Twenty-year-old Karé Adenegan, who comes from Coventry, found herself excluded from school sport because of her cerebral palsy. Thankfully, she was inspired to take up athletics after watching the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Karé received a racing wheelchair from Variety in 2014, and was made a Variety Young Ambassdor soon afterwards. Since then, she has risen through the ranks to become one of the fastest wheelchair sprinters in the world.

We couldn't be prouder to see Karé representing Britain as part of the ParalympicsGB team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where she won a silver medal in the Women's 100m - T34 - event. She also competed at the Paralympics in Rio in 2016, where she won bronze in the T34 400m and 800m and silver in the T34 100m events. With three Paralympic medals under her belt, the sky is the limit for this world champion para-athlete.

Her notable sporting achievements include:

  • Winning 100m silver and bronze in the 400m and 800m at the 2017 World Championships in London
  • Claiming her first major international gold medal in 2018 when she won 100m gold at the European Championships in Berlin
  • Being named as the BBC Young Sports Personality of the year in 2018
  • Claiming two silver medals in the T34 100m and 800m events at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships
  • Winning two silver medals in the Women's 100m  T34 and the Women's 800m T34 events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Her father Bunmi told us: "Variety was instrumental in getting Karé to where she is now. She has never forgotten that Variety provided her with her first set of 'quads' [a sports wheelchair with two back wheels], and the charity continues to be in our hearts. It's not just the aspiring young sporting champions that benefit, Variety does a wonderful job of making life more active for children and young people of all abilities."

Joy Haizelden – wheelchair basketball

Joy Haizelden representing Britain in the 2019 European Championships, Rotterdam

Joy Haizelden representing Britain in the 2019 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Rotterdam

Joy together with her parents as she sets off for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Joy is pictured with her parents at her airport send-off ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Joy Haizelden, a twenty-two-year-old from Southampton, was born with spina bifida. At the age of six, she was adopted from China and brought to the UK. When Joy wasn't able to participate in secondary school PE, she felt left out, so her father went looking for ways to keep her fit and active. When a friend suggested taking part in a wheelchair basketball session, she instantly fell in love with the sport and has not looked back. Supporting Joy's rapid rise to basketball fame by funding both a sports wheelchair in 2012 and a lighter daytime chair in 2014, has been an absolute privilege for Variety. 

Her impressive list of sporting achievements include the following:

  • Winning a silver medal in the 2019 European Championships in Rotterdam 
  • Winning a bronze medal in the 2019 U25 World Championships, Thailand
  • Winning a silver medal in the 2018World Championships in Hamburg
  • Winning a gold medal in the 2018 U24 European Championships
  • Winning a bronze medal in the 2017 European Championships in Tenerife 
  • Winning a gold medal in the 2016 U24 European Championships
  • Claiming 4th place in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio
  • Winning a bronze medal in the 2015 European Championships in Worcester
  • Winning a gold medal in the 2015 U25 World Championships in Beijing
  • Claiming 5th place in the 2014 World Championships in Toronto

Joy's father, Jim, told us: "Seeing Joy in Tokyo is a wonderful sight for us. She has worked so hard and for so long to prepare for the Paralympics. Playing sport at school was difficult for Joy, so when she discovered wheelchair basketball it was a life-changer for her. We have a lot to thank Variety for in supporting Joy when she was just starting out. They provided funding for a new lighter, more efficient day chair, which made coping with day-to-day life a lot better. When she started playing wheelchair basketball and it became clear she was very talented, they provided funding towards her own made-to-measure chair rather than the heavier, loaned club chair she was using. This really helped her and gave her the confidence she needed to improve her skills and ability, which led to her being invited to a GB development camp – and the rest is history!"

Lewis Edwards – wheelchair basketball

Lewis Edwards Team GB Paralympics Tokyo 2021

Lewis Edwards during the 2017 Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Toronto

Lewis Edwards playing basketball in 2017

The career of twenty-three-year-old Lewis Edwards, who has neurogenic arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, progressed rapidly after he was introduced to wheelchair basketball by a friend in 2014. The basketball star from Littlehampton found he loved the intensity and team aspect of the game, and has never looked back. Variety is thrilled to have played a part in his meteoric rise by funding a sports wheelchair for him in 2016. 

Highlights of his sporting career include:

  • Playing as part of the 2017 Men's U23 World Championship winning side in Toronto, which took gold. The under-23 team became the first-ever Great British wheelchair basketball side to medal at a World Championships.
  • Competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as part of the ParalympicsGB team, which won a bronze medal.

Lewis' father, John Edwards, told us: "The first sports chair that you helped Lewis with was the first step towards him getting as far as he has".

James (Jim) Palmer – wheelchair basketball

James Palmer wheelchair basketball champion

James is pictured here (left) as part of the Great Britain team as they were crowned Men's U23 World Champions in 2017

Twenty-four-year-old James (Jim) Palmer from Essex first took up wheelchair basketball after being introduced to  the sport at a wheelchair skills event. He joined the Essex Outlaws Basketball Club at the age of 10. Just two years later, Jim was invited to a GB development camp where his ambition and passion for the sport was nurtured. We're so proud to have made a contribution towards helping Jim realise his sporting dreams.

His career highlights include:

  • Playing as part of the GB U23 Squad who won the historic World Championship Title in June 2017 in Hamburg
  • Being awarded the Bill McGowran Trophy at the 2018 Sports Journalists' Association's British Sports Awards as a member of Great Britain's wheelchair basketball team.
  • Competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as part of the ParalympicsGB team, which won a bronze medal.

His mother, Sharon, told us: "Jim was part of the team that won the World Championships in Hamburg. It's the first time that Great Britain has won that competition, so it was a very proud moment in the history of British men's wheelchair basketball. The funding provided by Variety has helped Jim on his journey to the Tokyo Paralympics, to hopefully win a Gold medal. We are very grateful for the help provided by Variety, as it has made such a difference to Jim's life."

Bethany (Beth) Moulam – boccia

Although York-based Beth Moulam has been playing boccia (a precision, ball-based sport) since the age of 10, she has only been recently playing as a BC3 player – and therefore with a ramp assistant. The twenty-seven-year-old was inspired to enter the sport competitively by watching para-athlete Caroline Baird – who also has cerebral palsy – win two gold medals at Sydney 2000. In 2020, Beth was invited onto UK Sport’s World Class Programme, and her dreams of competing at a Paralympic Games began to materialise. She has cerebral palsy and a speech and hearing impairment, and uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), which was made famous by Stephen Hawking.

Beth says: “The wheelchair Variety funded for me in 2008 was a great chair – it gave me the confidence to really get into boccia, and many other things too.  Being completely independent is so important in terms of experimenting with what sport suits you best and how you can access it. Along my boccia journey, having the right equipment at the right time made it possible to challenge myself and improve my game.  Thank you Variety.”

Beth Moulam with her ramp assistant Christie

Beth Moulam with her ramp assistant Christie

Beth Moulam in Tokyo in 2021

Beth Moulam in Tokyo in 2021, just before the Paralympic Games opening ceremony