Stanley from Somerset is a vibrant, happy, bright seven-year-old boy who enjoys exploring and going out with his family. He has an undiagnosed neuro-muscular condition that leaves him feeling increasingly fatigued as the day goes on. He also struggles to eat. To conserve his strength, he needs to use a wheelchair to get around. Since receiving a powered wheelchair from Variety, he has been getting up to all the types of mischief that a seven-year-old should be. Having a wheelchair that doesn’t make him feel tired means that Stanley can now actively take part in exploring the world with his family, choosing either to lead or to follow.
"For Rhys to maintain a life, he needs a car seat" – Mum Sarah describes the crucial difference the right equipment has made
Rhys, who is 12 years old and lives in Herefordshire, has ataxic cerebral palsy, which affects his balance and coordination. He also has sensory neuropathy and progressive cerebellaratrophy. Because of his conditions, Rhys has 'wobbly', relaxed muscles, and this leaves him with poor balance and a lack of muscle control. To stop him from slipping around on car journeys, he needs to use a specialised postural car seat – an ordinary seat belt simply isn't enough keep him safe. As mum Sarah puts it, "For Rhys to maintain a life, he needs a proper car seat". However, Rhys had outgrown the car seat he had been using, and it no longer gave him adequate support, which made car travel dangerous for him.
Alfie, who is nine years old, lives with his mother, Emily, father, Richard and his five-year-old sister, Molly, in Derbyshire. He has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is unable to walk, and therefore relies on a wheelchair to move around. Alfie had significantly outgrown his powered wheelchair and after years of daily use, it had become worn out and almost completely broken down – very much on its 'last legs'. Variety stepped in and provided Alfie with a much bigger and more comfortable powered wheelchair, one that gives him proper postural support, greater convenience and a degree of independence that simply wasn’t possible before. Here, mum Emily describes the difference the new chair has made to Alfie and the whole family.
Isabella is a lively six year-old girl who has autism, ADHD and a sensory processing disorder. She lives with her mum, Louise, and her twin sister, Lilianna, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Isabella is a busy and active child, who loves jumping on a trampoline, swinging, running and dancing. However, because of her conditions, she experiences extreme anxiety and is prone to frustration, anger and outbursts when she is feeling overwhelmed. Isabella can have difficulty focusing and concentrating with academic work in mainstream school. She particularly struggles to learn phonics and numbers. To help provide relief for Isabella’s anxiety and emotional outbursts, Variety funded an outdoor combination jungle gym. Here, mum Louise shares the difference this has made to her daughter.
Katherine discusses how an Innowalk from Variety has allowed daughter Jessica to move freely for the first time
Jessica is a 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who is unable to stand or walk unaided. As she’s grown older, her muscles have increasingly stiffened, which is a result of having too much muscle tone – a feature of her condition. Not having the freedom to move independently has an impact on Jessica’s self-esteem, while a lack of physical exercise over the long-term means she may develop even more muscle tightness. It also places her at an increased risk of contracting a number of chronic diseases. Here, mum Katherine tells us about the life-changing difference an Innowalk from Variety has made to her daughter.