19-year-old Tom needs your help getting a new wheelchair

 Tom's Appeal

I would like to tell you about 19-year-old Tom who urgently needs your help to get a new powered wheelchair. Tom was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at age four. This is a life-limiting condition causing a gradual loss of muscle; there are only about 100 cases of this condition diagnosed in the UK every year and there is no cure.

Tom is just about to finish the school he has been attending for the last 14 years, and is ready to go to a college to study design. Sadly, Tom’s current wheelchair no longer meets his basic needs. Tom has had so many things made possible by his wheelchair, such as playing in goal for his powerchair football team, taking his dogs out for a walk and simply going shopping with his sister.

However, after seven years his current wheelchair is now far too small and unreliable for him to maintain an active life as he approaches his 20s. He’s had incidents where the wheelchair’s controls have stopped working, even an incident of him rolling down a hill as a result – luckily he escaped with only a minor injury, but this shows real reliability problems with his aging wheelchair.

Tom’s dad, Melvyn, understands his needs better than anyone and the benefits of a new wheelchair.

“By having a new wheelchair with more support and reliability it will greatly increase his confidence and reduce the pressure on us all. He’s very aware of his disability, and worries about what people think about him and he gets frustrated that he can’t do exactly what he wants to.”

Tom’s wheelchair is his only lifeline to access the world around him; it’s very much an extension of his own body, which makes any problem with his wheelchair a major issue for him. He relies so completely on the wheelchair for everything, it is frightening and frustrating when it doesn’t work.

Please help support Tom today to get a new Invacare TDX Powerchair. The powered wheelchair will be custom-fitted to meet his exact size to ensure it has the greatest long term benefit for Tom. The powerchair also has a central wheel to allow for easy turning. This means Tom can navigate more easily around tight spaces – perfect for the classroom. He has had a chance to try it as well and was delighted at the prospect of a new wheelchair. The Invacare TDX Powerchair will give him a lot of self-confidence as he will have a reliable way of getting around - it extends the possibilities and horizons of his life immeasurably. Although this is the wheelchair that best suits his needs it is not available on the NHS and is beyond the means of the family to pay for.

Many of the simplest aspects of day-to-day life which many of us do effortlessly are simply beyond Tom’s ability. Everyday acts like feeding himself, changing his clothes and even brushing his teeth are all parts of his life he needs assistance with. This has not stopped Tom taking on exciting challenges, and with Tom now starting college he has new experiences to look forward to. By helping Tom get his new wheelchair it will give him a safe and reliable way to explore the world around him.

Donate a gift to Tom’s Appeal and give him the best possible start in college.