An Off-Road Wheelchair for Alicia

An Off-Road Wheelchair for Alicia

By Hati Whiteley>

At the Alpkit Foundation, we're always extremely grateful of the opportunity that we have to support laudable projects and initiatives - whatever the size or scale of the organisations involved. This project is one that particularly rings true with the vision we had for the Alpkit Foundation when we set it up: individuals getting together to help other individuals to go nice places and do good things.

In March this year, Neil Tranter got in touch to tell us about a fundraising campaign that he and his colleagues had launched. Their goal? To raise the funds to buy an off-road wheelchair for the daughter of a workmate so that he and his family can take part in social outings such as walks on the beach or in the countryside. No small feat: an off-road wheelchair costs £3295 and is not available on the NHS.

Alicia is 18. She has severe autism, brain damage, and downs syndrome; the latter has restricted her growth, limiting her balance and coordination whilst the brain damage that she suffers has limited her mental age to 6 - 36 months, despite being a teenager. The wheelchair that Alicia currently uses is for indoor use only - wholly unsuitable for even slightly rough terrains, meaning that she and her family are unable to take part in any outdoor pursuits, strolling down the beach, exploring a woodland path, or heading out to the hills.

We're possibly a little biased about outdoors pursuits, but the benefits of getting out into nature undeniable (and too numerous to list!). For many, such experiences are also better shared. It was important to Neil and his workmates that Alicia and her family also have the opportunity to explore the wild places around them. Neil explains the positive impact that such an opportunity would have:

"The wheelchair will benefit Alicia greatly by allowing her to be taken to places she would otherwise never see… she will benefit hugely from mixing with new people and being able to experience the countryside sights, smells and sounds which are very important stimuli for her. It will also help her parents to cope with the demands of a severely disabled adult and their own health issues…"

We were able to support the fundraising campaign with a donation towards the cost of the wheelchair which, according to Neil, has given the fundraising campaign a major boost. However, they still have a long way to go. Neil and his colleagues will be continuing to raise money by running quizzes and raffles, as well as participating in sponsored events. For more information on their fundraising activities, visit their crowdfunder page.

The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.

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