Ismail Rafiq has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and first contacted us a few months before his 25th birthday to ask for financial support to pay for a new powered wheelchair that better suited his needs.
His old wheelchair was four years old and was starting to have a lot of issues including problems with the rear suspension and parts that were leaking – in fact Ismail said it was a “time bomb” as it was surely going to completely fail very soon. His old chair also often slipped on the access ramp outside his house which could be very unsafe. Due to this, if he had to go down a steep hill he would have to attempt it in reverse for safety.
Ismail says how important his chair is to his life – he calls his chair “my legs, my way of walking in a way” as being able to get about is so important to him. Because of this, Ismail needed a more reliable chair that offered more stability and security.
The expense of the powered wheelchair requested meant that Ismail was contacting a number of possible funding providers and following this was awarded some funding (£2500) from the Joseph Patrick Trust. Whilst his application asked Children Today for any additional financial support they could give, our grants panel awarded over £5200 to provide the rest of the monies needed to fund the wheelchair just before Ismail’s birthday.
If Children Today couldn’t have provided the funding Ismail said he would have had to keep applying to other funds as there is no way he would have been able to fund the chair on his own.
His new chair offers significant benefits including an improved control system meaning there is more grip on slippy surfaces where it can ‘right’ itself and mid-wheel gravity and struts which help avoid tipping. The new chair also has a bigger battery which means he will be able to get further afield.
Ismail is now very excited about the future with his new chair: “Once the weather is better, I’m really looking forward to getting out and about and getting my independence back by being able to go out on my own or with my friends.”
The chair is also easier to drive as it has controls that are nearer Ismail’s hand and offers better comfort and support.
“My old wheelchair could be quite painful when it went over bumps and rough ground outdoors, this one is a lot smoother and easier to manoeuvre. It can even go over other terrain like grass – something I’ve never been able to do before”, Ismail continues.
“This new chair will make a huge difference to my life as it will give me more freedom, allow me to feel safe and secure when outdoors and help me overcome obstacles more easily without being in fear of falling or tipping over.”
As Ismail’s condition progresses he will get weaker over time so this new chair was also a priority to offer more security and better wellbeing for his future.
Ismail adds: “Ultimately, I am so glad I don’t need to worry about it letting me down in years to come and can have the confidence to go out more.”