Like many teenagers Jamie Withey from Hanham likes to go out and meet people and try new things, but he has a complex form of Cerebral Palsy which means he needs a wheelchair to get around. However, the one he has is so bulky and heavy his parents and carers find it difficult to push, so he is often restricted to the house.
A power assist pack could be added to 15-year-old Jamie’s wheelchair which would make it much easier to manoeuvre – and it would mean he could enjoy the simple pleasures of joining his mum Sharon, dad Phil and 12-year-old sister Lucy to walk their dog, take a wander around a town shopping, visit a park or enjoy a family day out at the zoo.
As the power assist pack costs £834 and their local statutory services don’t fund this type of equipment, the Withey family applied to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Now the charity is appealing for ‘local heroes’ to help fund the equipment which would make such a difference to Jamie’s life.
Mum Sharon said: “Jamie is bright and sociable with a good understanding of life. His biggest enjoyment is music and has eclectic tastes, from the Wurzels to Stevie Wonder. He enjoys going to parties and discos, but at the moment anything which requires him being pushed in his wheelchair for more than 100 yards or so if off limits.”
As Sharon is a petite 5′ 1″ and the wheelchair comes up to her chest, she struggles to push the combined weight of her 5′ 9″ son and his heavy wheelchair. Dad Phil works full time, so he often isn’t available to help.
Sharon said: “Jamie is restricted to the house a lot and we have to think very carefully before we go anywhere. Because of the complexity of his disability he can’t use a power wheelchair, so this is the only option.
“The power pack would give Jamie and us more freedom. It would remove those barriers and restrictions so we could enjoy family life as much as possible.”
At Newlife we need donors and fundraisers who want to really make a difference, helping us transform Jamie’s life. To find out how you can support Jamie, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/gloucestershire read his story and click the ‘Donate Now’ button. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Gloucestershire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county. Any money raised above the amount required for Jamie will be used to help other local children as he is currently one of six in Gloucestershire with equipment needs totalling £11,356.
Pictured: Jamie Withey