“A Glimmer Of Independence”

A man from St Helens who became paralysed from the waist down after suffering a spinal injury in an accident has benefitted from an Enable grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation for a new lightweight wheelchair.

And the first thing that 67-year-old Richard did after taking receipt of the wheelchair, was to collect his grandson from school, just as he had every day prior to his accident.

His previous standard wheelchair was a heavy model which he could only self-propel for short distances, and a reliance on other people for longer distances meant he was unable to enjoy a sense of independence.

“Prior to his accident, Richard was an active person who enjoyed walking and cycling, and particularly enjoyed spending time with his younger grandchildren, who he would pick up from nursery and take to the park,” said Jane Harris, Director of Regional Grants with the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“Since becoming disabled, he had been largely confined to his house, and he said that having had to give up everything he loved had, at times, made him feel like his life was not worth living.

“The lightweight wheelchair and electric Batec attachment has been far more comfortable and manoeuvrable for Richard, helping him feel more secure when self-propelling and also allowing him to access public transport.

“The Batec attachment has also allowed him to travel longer distances and over uneven ground, ensuring he can access the outdoors and local community independently.

“As well as the physical benefits associated with exercising outdoors, the provision of the lightweight chair and Batec attachment has enabled Richard to regain some freedom and independence and substantially improved his mood and overall wellbeing.”

An Enable grant of almost £5,000 was added to Richard’s own contribution towards the new wheelchair.

“The first thing I did after collecting the wheelchair and Batec was to pick up my grandson from school, as I had every day before the accident,” he said.

“Since the accident I had been desperate to gain some of my independence back, and also to feel useful again.

“I had always been very independent with a lot of people relying on me but since the accident it had been the complete opposite.

“Picking up my grandson up for my daughter felt like I was getting back to my old life for the first time, and I can’t thank Steve Morgan and the trustees enough for giving me a glimmer of independence again.

“It is always impossible to predict what fate has in store, but when you are told something as devastating as not being able to walk again after being so active, it is heart-warming to know there are people out there who really care.”

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