Faith’s NHS wheelchair was heavy and it had non-detachable arm rests that got in the way of her reaching the wheels with her hands. This meant that she was unable to self-propel, and she was entirely reliant on the round-the-clock help of her carers, both at home and at school.
Variety stepped in and provided Faith with an active light wheelchair in January 2020. The new wheelchair is smaller, more comfortable and much lighter than her old one, and it folds down really easily. The supplier put extra support on the wheels, so that Faith can now wheel herself around and be much more independent, so she has the freedom to explore the world around her.
Because Faith can now use her arms and hands to self-propel, the new wheelchair is helping to strengthen her arms and core body muscles. It's also helping her improve her motor skills and balance. There are social development benefits too. Faith has tended to be a little reluctant to join in with things, but her new level of mobility will encourage her to do more things at school and have more fun with her friends outside school too.
The new wheelchair has also had a major impact on the life of Faith's mother Lily, as Faith can move around the home now without waiting to be pushed. As it’s light, it can also easily be put it into the car. Faith needs to be lifted in and out of the wheelchair, so this is a great help to her mum. She says that taking Faith to school these days is "like pushing a feather”.
However, not long after she received her new wheelchair, it was noted that Faith could not maintain her upper body in a symmetrical position and she was leaning a lot to one side. Faith also told her mum that she was struggling to keep herself up during school hours. Once again, Variety intervened and provided Faith with a swing-away lateral support that could be mounted to the back posts of the wheelchair, resting against Faith's trunk to increase her stability and balance. This addition has provided Faith with crucial support, allowing her to sit upright and in symmetry and alignment, thus making her more comfortable and preventing her from developing further deformities.