Henry Bowers, just 11 years old, has a rare degenerative disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia. The disease affects the nervous system and the heart, causing a loss of movement in the arms and legs. Most sufferers live through their childhood unaware they have the condition.
For Henry, it had a rapid onset: he left primary school needing just a stick to walk long distances, and started secondary school in a wheelchair. Whilst his friends are doing PE, Henry plays football on the computer, imagining that the players are him:
“It makes me feel sad and left out… I can’t do what everyone else can do a anymore”
“I used to play sport for three hours a day after school. When I played football it would get rid of all my bad feelings, but now when I look back it makes me feel sad. This wheelchair will bring the happy feelings back to me again.”
Not one to give up, Henry entered these heartfelt words in a competition we launched, in partnership with Scope, and he’s now the proud owner of a Motivation Multisport wheelchair. At half the price of an average sports wheelchair, that can cost over £1,000, our Multisport wheelchair means sport is now an affordable option for more young people like Henry, and their families.
Henry received his new wheelchair in a special presentation at the University of Worcester Arena, the training home of TeamGB wheelchair basketball in the run up to Rio. He has already joined a team, and had his first wheelchair training session the day after he received his new chair!
Henry’s mum, Debbie hopes it’s a turning point in what has been an incredibly difficult few months. Just two years ago she was watching him play football, now she is helping him get out of bed in the morning: “We just have to deal with Henry’s illness. It’s here, we can’t change it. Whatever the goals are at the end… they’re just different goals now aren’t they?”
We’re really looking forward to following Henry’s Multisport adventure… Reach for the stars Henry!