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SPECIALIST WHEELCHAIR BOOSTS TEENAGER’S INDEPENDENCE

Going off to university represents the first step towards independence for many teenagers – and now Aymun Khan, from Welwyn Garden City, is looking forward to the same opportunity thanks to provision of a specialist wheelchair.

Seventeen-year-old Aymun was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukaemia in February 2011. He underwent a combination of chemotherapy and steroid treatment which has resulted in greatly reduced mobility.

Today, Aymun is only able to walk very short distances and has been advised to use a wheelchair as much as possible to prevent his knees and hips deteriorating further. However, the wheelchair given to him by the NHS is big and bulky and is hard for him to self-propel so he is often reliant on friends and family members to get around.

Aymun, who attends Verulam School sixth-form in St Albans, has plans to go to university next year to study mechanical engineering – but to do this he needs a lightweight wheelchair costing £2,775. Statutory services have given him a voucher for just £506 – which prompted his family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help.

The Khan family received news of their equipment application being approved last week (October 10). This brings the total amount of Newlife-funded specialist equipment for children and young people in Hertfordshire to £160,279.

Aymun said: “Having my own lightweight wheelchair will make it much easier for me to be able to move out from home, live independently, attend university and socialise with my friends.  It will go a long way in restoring the freedom of movement I once had.”

Aymum was diagnosed with Leukaemia at the age of 14. “It was a massive blow at the time but I dealt with it the best I could,” he said.

“The intensive chemotherapy caused a number of side effects including intense pain due to my bones crumbling in my joints. The resulting restricted mobility has meant I have had to incorporate using a wheelchair in my everyday life which has been the most challenging adjustment I have had to make.”

Aymun’s passion in life is deciphering how things work, particularly cars and aeroplanes. He is currently studying maths, further maths, physics and Spanish. He said: “I have worked hard throughout my illness so I can fulfil my career aspirations and become an engineer.”

Aymun’s mum Farah Khan said: “Aymun strives to be as independent as possible but the bones in his knees and hips are crumbling so we have to be very careful.  But now Aymun is at the age where he wants to go to university and he deserves more independence so he can spend more quality time with his friends.”

Demand for Newlife’s range of practical support services is increasing as statutory services budgets around the UK suffer further cuts. Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As a charity we are looking increasingly to ‘local heroes’ to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Hertfordshire can be ring-fenced to provide essential equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in the county.”

Newlife is currently working with six other families in the county, with equipment needs of £12,197.

If you think you can help a disabled or terminally ill child in Hertfordshire, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines).

Pictured: Aymun Khan

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