Starting university is a huge milestone for any teenager – living away from parents for the first time is as exciting as it is daunting. But for keen footballer Marcus Harrison, from the Old Swan area of Liverpool, it represents a level of independence he has longed for. The only thing that could hold him back is his old wheelchair that is threatening to breakdown at any time.
Marcus, aged 18, has Muscular Dystrophy, a condition he has lived with since birth – but the inspirational teenager does not let it stop him making the most of life. Not only does he represent the country in Powerchair Football, but he also plays for a disability team. He is now taking his love of the beautiful game to university, where he will be studying Football Science at the start of next term.
Marcus relies on his powered wheelchair from morning until night – if he hasn’t got it, he is confined to his bed as he is unable to sit without it and cannot use a manual chair. He has been using his current wheelchair for about six years but it has become unreliable.
Now Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is looking for ‘local heroes’ who can help make this happen. Newlife has received £8,000, donated from the Variety Club and a further £4,592 towards this vital piece of equipment, which costs £21,744, leaving £9,183 still to find to make sure that Marcus has the vital equipment he needs to allow him continue with his dream of going to university.
Marcus’s dad, David, said: “Marcus has never let his disability hold him back – but without a powered chair that is exactly what is going to happen. He’s a very bright and outgoing boy – he really is an inspiration. I just hope that he gets the chance to fully embrace the opportunity of being at university. The chair he has now is very unreliable and if he doesn’t have it to use when he is at uni, he won’t be able to attend lectures as he will be stuck in bed. He relies on his chair every minute of the day from the moment he wakes up in the morning.”
Newlife has provided 549 children in the Merseyside area with £468,480 worth of disability equipment. But more help is still needed with 22 families in the county still waiting for £18,759 of equipment. In response to this growing need, Newlife has established the dedicated Newlife Merseyside Fund – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/merseyside – giving local people to chance to help local disabled children like Marcus, and every penny fundraised or donated in Merseyside is guaranteed to support families in the county. The Newlife Merseyside Fund supports equipment provision for under 19s facing any significant disability whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Newlife guarantees that 100 percent of the money fundraised or donated for Marcus will go towards his powered wheelchair and any surplus funds will help fund equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in the Merseyside area.
Further information about the Newlife Merseyside Fund – and how to specifically donate or fundraise to help Marcus – can be found by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/merseyside or emailing [email protected] Telephone donations can by calling 01543 462777.
Pictured: Marcus Harrison