20-year-old Leah, who has Cerebral Palsy, has been given the gift of independence thanks to a set of motorised wheels for her wheelchair. Leah, from Londonderry, now has more freedom to live her life the way she chooses thanks to funding for her e-motion wheels from Children Today.
Leah’s mum, Jill, says:
“Leah’s new wheels have been genuinely life-changing for her. As a full-time wheelchair user, Leah was often reliant on others to push her to get around and as she’s grown up that can be quite frustrating. So, having the independence to be able to manoeuvre herself more freely has been a liberating experience for her.”
Children Today and several other charities, helped fund a set of ‘e-motion wheels’ – motorised wheels which can be added to a manual wheelchair to make it easier to manoeuvre.
“It’s the little things that you don’t necessarily think about that have made a big difference. She can now keep up with her friends more easily and feel like she’s a part of the conversation. When you’re being pushed in a wheelchair, you miss out on so much as it’s hard to hear what’s going on behind you.
“Leah has a personal assistant, who takes her out for coffee and on shopping trips and now she’s got the motorised wheels she enjoys that even more. It’s had a really positive effect on her social life.
“For me, watching her play in the snow with her brother was a big thing. Leah had never been able to have a snowball fight before – not a fair one anyway! But she was able to whizz about and just have fun!”
The e-motion wheels also enable Leah to maintain a healthy lifestyle, getting regular exercise, as unlike a powered wheelchair she uses her arms to propel herself.
“When Leah was at school there was a big focus on exercise and physio, so we were worried that it would be difficult to maintain that when she left school. Often a powered wheelchair is the preferred option to allow more independence, but not only are they very expensive there are also limitations with an electric wheelchair and, of course, it means less exercise. Whereas, these wheels mean Leah is still using her upper body strength to push herself, just with a wee electric assist to give her more oomph! They can also be transferred to a different wheelchair if and when her current chair needs replacing.
“Leah’s now on a work placement through college and there’s no doubt that her new wheels will help her progress in her career too! So, thank you to Children Today and the other charities for giving Leah the independence she wanted.”