Six-year-old Max Phillips from Nuneaton will be cutting a dash in his brand new wheelchair on Saturday (14 December) to raise vital funding for the charity helping him.
Max has Spina Bifida, which means has limited mobility and relies on a wheelchair to get around. Unfortunately, the manual wheelchair provided by Statutory Services is too heavy for Max to propel himself so he has had to rely on others to push him everywhere.
Mum Michelle Phillips said: “Max has no independence at all with the NHS wheelchair and he is getting to an age where he needs to be able to do things for himself.”
The family turned to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help – and Max is now due to take delivery of his new £1,890 lightweight wheelchair on Friday (13 December), just one day before participating in a fundraising Santa Dash with mum Michelle and dad Steve. They hope to raise around £150.
The Newlife Santa Dash is taking place in Cannock, Staffordshire, where Newlife Foundation has its UK headquarters. Michelle said: “We knew we were getting a grant for the wheelchair and it is important for Max to understand that it’s not just about taking but saying thank you too. Our friends and family are supporting us through sponsorship and we are all looking forward to the one-mile Santa Dash.”
Michelle added: “Getting this wheelchair will be massive for Max. He will be independent for the first time in his life. It will be used every day – at home, at school, for trips out. It will enable him to be involved in every aspect of life. Simple things like his school’s walk to the local church for the Christmas service; he won’t need to be at the back of the line any more, being pushed in his wheelchair – in future he will be able to join in with the rest of his class.”
Saturday 14 December sees the fourth annual Newlife Santa Dash around Cannock town centre; all money raised from the event will be used to fund specialist disability equipment for under-19s. Newlife Foundation is currently working with the families of 153 children around the UK with equipment needs in excess of £345,000 (six of these are in Warwickshire, totalling £10,963). Last month (November) Newlife announced it had hit the £10million landmark in terms of funding for Equipment Grants since 2005; in the first six months of 2013 alone the charity fulfilled 669 grants totalling more than £980,000.
Pictured: Max gets ready for his Newlife Santa Dash.