William Ryder has defied the odds and the doctors to become the miracle child his parents, Michelle and Paul, always longed for.
Seven-year-old William, from Goldthorpe in Rotherham, spent the first two years of his life in hospital. Conceived after seven failed IVF attempts, he suffered a stroke in the womb when his twin died and was born prematurely, causing a severe and life-threatening bleed to the brain. Such a traumatic start has left William with profound brain damage, partial blindness and epilepsy, with him sometimes having up to 40 seizures a day.
Last year William suffered a massive stroke that almost killed him, and stripped him of all the skills he’d learnt, including how to walk.
Now Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is calling on the local community to help raise £1,683 for a specialist wheelchair for William that gives his fragile body the support it needs as he recovers from the debilitating stroke, and even give him the chance for a little independence.
“William is our world, he’s been through so much and yet he just keeps smiling,” says mum, Michelle.
“We’ve already spent £4,000 on specialist buggies for him over the last few years. He’s completely grown out of one, and the other just isn’t fit for purpose.
“After William had the stroke it took the NHS nine months to provide a buggy so we had no choice but to buy a second hand one in the meantime. Although it cost £1,000 it just didn’t support him properly and the brake kept falling off.”
Although William has started to walk again, the stroke has left him extremely weak on one side of this body; he can take a few steps but is unsteady on his feet and tires very quickly.
Having now outgrown the buggy provided by NHS wheelchair services, the family are desperate to raise the money for a specialist wheelchair that provides his body with the right support and offers the chance for him move himself around giving him a little bit of independence.
Michelle continues: “William has such determination and gets frustrated at having to rely on me to push him around all the time. And as he grows it’s getting harder for me to push him.
“The specialist wheelchair would give him a chance to have some independence and be in charge of where he goes and when.”
The NHS could only offer a basic wheelchair for William and have instead made a contribution towards the one his physiotherapist has recommended that will give him the opportunity to thrive.
Carrick Brown, Senior Manager for Newlife’s Care Services, said: “When a child’s condition changes the support and specialist equipment they need changes too.
“Although we would love to be able to fund the wheelchair for William, we just don’t have the money available right now, and so are calling on the local community for help.
“Every penny donated will go towards the wheelchair for William and will make such a huge difference to his life.”
STOP PRESS: Thanks to a great community effort and lots of media support from BBC Radio Sheffield, Sheffield Star and Sheffield Telegraph we have now raised enough money for William’s wheelchair.
However, we still have another 20 children on our waiting list for specialist equipment in the Yorkshire and Humber region and need to raise £27,681 to help them all. If you are able to help please call 01543 431 444, Text NEWLIFE YORKS TO 70500 to donate £10 – Newlife will receive 100% of your donation. Texts cost £10 plus 1 message at your standard network rate. Always get the bill payers permission.