Social Sharing
24 December 2017

ALF gives Richard the gift of added independence

Article by Ryan Brown

A YOUNG lad has received a life-changing early Christmas gift from a collection of local groups – including the Aaron Lewis Foundation.

Richard Traveller, 10, recently took ownership of a special wheelchair for which the ALF has funded a Triride device that allows it to be powered electrically.

The Star Wars fan has diplegic and hemiplegic cerebral palsy. He was born at 28 weeks weighing just over 2lb and had a real struggle at first being on life support and CPap until he was seven weeks old.

He was also later diagnosed with global developmental delay, gastrointestinal oesophageal reflux and apnoeas.

Richard attends Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School on Canvey Island, where his classmates have been very supportive. He hopes one day to become a scientist or surgeon.

His mum Michaela said: “His cerebral palsy affects both his legs, making him unable to walk, and his whole left side which for a long time stopped him even being able to use his left arm. He can only sit for a short while if he is not in a seating system or his specialised wheelchair.

“Through providing Richard with his Triride, the Aaron Lewis Foundation has given a young man so much more independence and a fantastic boost to his confidence.

“He has been told there is so much he can’t do – like walking, rides at theme parks and running around a playground with his friends. But now he drives himself to school. He knows this comes with responsibility, which also fills him with pride.”

Michaela said the device also allows her and keen Cub Scout Richard – along with his dad Richard and brother Isaac, eight – to go out for walks as a family.

She added: “It may not seem a lot, but we are actually able to walk side-by-side now. We no longer have to shout over Richard’s head while we push him and trying to converse with him.

“It really has changed the whole dynamic for days we go out as a family. There is no longer the same struggle to push him all day when we go on trips to zoos, etc, and he will no longer come home tired from self-propelling, which makes days out far more enjoyable.”

The family received donations from the Canvey Rotary Club, Richard’s school and cub groups, as well as the Catholic church to find his chair.

But they offered a special thanks to the ALF and its supporters for providing the Triride – and Richard’s added independence – saying its “those pennies and pounds that change lives”.

Michaela added: “We also have to say a huge thank you to Aaron, who in his death inspired his family and friends to create the Foundation that has had such an impact on all our lives.

“We will never be able to share with you just how much you have helped Richard and us as a family too.”