22-year-old Josh, who has Muscular Dystrophy, has played as a midfielder for the Sale United powered wheelchair team for seven years but needed a new wheelchair as his old chair had become unsafe after six years of use.
As the team had made it into the Muscular Dystrophy National Premiership, Josh knew he needed the new wheelchair quickly. However, with the specially adapted wheelchair costing just under £9000 to buy, Josh knew that finding the funds needed would be difficult.
With friends and family rallying together to help raise the money, Josh also applied to a number of different charities to try and reach the required total.
Josh comments: “I almost gave up hope when I saw how much a new sports wheelchair would be but when my family started to get funding it really spurred me on to apply to different charities in the hope that I would get the financial support I needed.”
Children Today and a number of other charities including the Bruce Wake Trust, awarded grants to Josh so he could finally fund his new sports wheelchair (which has special adaptations including a larger safety guard around the base to keep it safe from tipping up).
Josh continues: “It’s a very competitive game so my new wheelchair has been a huge improvement for me. Not only do I feel so much safer when playing, but there is no way I would have been able to keep up with the pace of the game in my old wheelchair when most other players have faster, more modern wheelchairs like my new one.”
Chief executive of Children Today Ben Partridge explains the importance of equipment like this: “Specially adapted equipment, like Josh’s wheelchair, can help give young people with disabilities the ability to take part in activities or a lifestyle that they just wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
“A sports wheelchair really can make a huge difference to someone’s life. Not only is wheelchair football one of the few active team participation sports for people who use electric wheelchairs so is great for encouraging regular physical activity, but it also helps the participants build vital life skills such as communication and teamwork.”