THE FAMILY of a 12-year-old boy with a muscle wasting disease who ‘just wants to be like everybody else’ are rallying to raise funds for a new wheelchair which will change his life.
Tommy Lloyd was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy when he was six, and now struggles to walk and cannot climb stairs or pick himself up from the ground.
Mum Hayley wants Ashlawn School student Tommy, who turns 13 in less than two weeks, to have a Nino electric wheelchair which will help him be more independent.
But his ability to walk short distances means he does not qualify to have one on the NHS, so Hayley is trying to raise £8,750 to buy one.
She said Tommy’s muscles will get weaker and weaker until he can’t really move at all.
She said: “Over the last few months Tommy’s walking has become more difficult and he now can’t walk long distances at all.
“His arms are becoming weaker too so it’s hard for him to self-propel in his current wheelchair. The only option is for Tommy to be pushed in his chair but I know he hates it, especially at school.
“He’s coming into his teenage years so he wants to be like everybody else, and that’s really hard because he can’t do what everybody else does.”
She said Tommy is determined not to let his condition affect him.
“I’m super proud of Tommy’s positive ‘can do’ attitude towards his condition,” she said. “But his walking leads to falls. To date we’ve had 10 hospital visits for falls – he has broken his arm, fractured his wrist and had numerous other muscle injuries.”
The fund-raising campaign has already reached £3,490 – led by Tommy’s 11-year-old cousin Lily Kirk who has ‘fund-raised her little heart out’.
Hayley said: “Tommy and Lily have always been very close. Lily said she really wanted to help so she set up a fundraising page.
“She’s personally raised £365 herself. I think it’s important she feels like she can help.”
She said the wheelchair would make a massive difference to Tommy’s life.
“Tommy can’t do simple things which most people would take for granted, like taking the dog for a walk around the park.
“That freedom is so important. He should be like any other child, and that chair will give him that.
“It looks amazing – a bit like a Segway – and is very high tech. Tommy loved it.
“I’m sure his mates will be impressed, and psychologically and emotionally that’s as important as his mobility – to fit in, and be cool.
“I’m hopeful, with some hard work, together, we can do it. We can get Tommy his cool new wheels.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tomswheels to donate.