Nine-year-old Oliver Duerden is one of only a handful of children in Norfolk to have magnetically-lengthening metal rods in his spine. He can’t walk and he is often uncomfortable in his wheelchair, especially when the family go ‘off-road’.
Mum Caroline Duerden, from Mulbarton near Norwich, said: “We live in the countryside and Oliver’s wheelchair just isn’t suitable, even on the local pavements. It has no suspension so it’s not a very comfortable ride for him. We have never let Oliver’s condition restrict him from family activities, so if he can’t get out then neither can the rest of us, including his five-year-old sister Nancy.”
Now, thanks to Newlife, Oliver has an all-terrain buggy so his parents can take him out wherever and whenever they want. Caroline said: “Oliver’s wheelchair is very upright, so if he is feeling poorly or tired he is even more uncomfortable. The new buggy reclines, so he can lie back and relax when he needs to.”
The new equipment mean Oliver’s family can take him out on more fun walks in the countryside with their dog – and he will be able to comfortably join in school outings.
Oliver has a chromosomal condition combined with scoliosis – before starting a course of surgery his back had a 100-degree curvature. Caroline said: “In November 2016 Oliver underwent a nine-hour operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to have existing rods removed from his spine and the new, magnetic lengthening rods inserted. Every three months he goes back to hospital to have the rods extended by about one centimetre each time. When he’s had this done he is particularly sensitive to movement and vibration so having the new, comfy buggy to get about in will make a huge difference.”