'He calls it his Porsche and won't let anyone else touch it'
PUBLISHED: 14:02 19 October 2017
A Potters Bar boy's face lit up when he received a new powered wheelchair worth nearly £20,000, thanks to a charity for disabled children.
Kai Shah is a typical teenager who loves to sleep, play football and spend hours on his PlayStation.
But as someone with Muscular Dystrophy he has never crawled, stood up or walked, and so when Kai grew out of his old wheelchair, life became very restricted.
His mum Sonia Shah said: “When his powered wheelchair became too small he couldn’t do anything.
“The wheelchair is his legs.
“As he doesn’t have the muscle strength to propel himself he became reliant on others to push him and no longer had his independence.”
The new, larger, powered wheelchair 14-year-old Kai needed came with a £19,709 price tag, which was far beyond the family budget. But thankfully Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children was able to come to the rescue.
The majority of the funds for the powered wheelchair were donated through Newlife’s partnership with fashion retailer River Island, through a “fantastic plastic initiative”.
This sees the profit from every 5p carrier bag sold, go to Newlife to fund vital equipment.
To date, this has resulted in almost £600,000 of specialist support.
Sonia said: “When Kai received the new powered wheelchair his face just lit up.
“I can’t explain how happy he was.
“He calls it his Porsche and won’t let anyone else touch it!”
Now Kai, who plays for Watford-based wheelchair premiership football team Evergreen, has his freedom back.
The powered wheelchair keeps him comfortable and supports his posture, which is vital as he has a curvature of the spine.
It also allows him to stretch out his legs and will recline when he gets tired.
Sonia added: “Kai isn’t complaining about back and hip pain as often as he did before, so it’s keeping him really comfortable. “The seat also goes up and down so he can rise up to reach things himself, as well as speak to people face to face.
“It’s so nice that he can do this.
“The seat itself also moves forward so he can sit at any table, which means he can go out for a meal without worrying the wheelchair won’t fit.
“The powered wheelchair has made a whole lot of difference and Kai is much happier.
“Despite his difficulties he tries to make the most of life and this helps him do that.”
Newlife’s head of charity operations Stephen Morgan said: “It’s great we could help Kai, but right now the charity is working with three disabled and terminally ill children in Hertfordshire in need of specialist equipment and must raise £5,405 to help them too.
“Newlife has already supported 202 children across Hertfordshire.”
•To find out how you could help, visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hertfordshire