A Hampshire motorcycle club has responded to an appeal for help to fund a wheelchair for Alton teenager Charlie Stubbs – and raised £1,500 at a rally of custom and classic vehicles.
The 3Bs Rally Club invited Charlie, aged 17, and his family along to its Only Fools and Bikers Custom and Classic Show last weekend (June 29/30) at Headley Park Hotel in Bordon, Hampshire.
Mum Tina Stubbs said: “Everyone was so welcoming – a really lovely bunch of people. We were at the bike rally for several hours. Both Charlie and his younger brother, who has a diagnosis of autism, had a great time; everyone was really understanding of their conditions.”
3Bs Rally Club president Iain ‘Fish’ Gudgeon added: “When we found out about Charlie’s need for a new wheelchair it was a cause that all the members wanted to support as it is so local to the club. I would like to thank everyone who came to the rally for their generosity in donating so freely to help Charlie – and a massive thanks to Charlie and his family for coming down to the show and enjoying the afternoon.”
Charlie has Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a rare neurodegenerative condition which affects his motor skills and immune system and means he has a high risk of developing cancer.
Charlie attends Treloar School in Holybourne, where he uses a powered wheelchair. However, he is not able to take this into his home as it has a fixed wheelbase which cannot be removed. Because of his immune deficiency – for which he takes daily medication – he needs a wheelchair with two wheelbases, one for use indoors and another for outside so he is less likely to transfer germs and bacteria into the home.
The versatile new equipment – which would operate both as a manual and a powered wheelchair – would also allow him to move independently around the house and could be used as a back-up for school when his heavier powered wheelchair breaks down.
Mum Tina Stubbs said: “Charlie was mobile until he was eight years old and loved playing all sports; he’s sports mad. He still plays wheelchair football once a week but isn’t able to participate in any other sports so he feels the loss acutely. It is his body that is deteriorating, not his mind and Charlie is at an age where a multi-functional wheelchair is crucial in giving him some independence so he can function as a teenager.”
The versatile features of the wheelchair will include a specially moulded seat to properly support Charlie’s body as he has begun to develop curvature of the lower spine. The cost of the equipment – £7,688 – prompted the Stubbs family to contact Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help with funding.
If you think you can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.
Pictured: Charlie was helped on to one of the bikes for this photo opportunity.