Family’s joy at son’s new £5,000 wheelchair to replace ‘awful’ NHS one

Sam Acres pictured with  Crest Nicholson's Debbie Applin
Sam Acres pictured with Crest Nicholson's Debbie Applin

The life of a young boy with cerebral palsy has been made easier after a company donated a state-of-the-art wheelchair to his family.

Sam Acres, nine, of Hawkslade, was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy – one of the most severe types of the condition – when he was just a year old.

He has been in a wheelchair since he was three.

But his mum Emma described the NHS chairs as ‘awful’ and is delighted with his new £5,000 custom-made one.

Emma, 33, said it was a complete shock when they first received Sam’s diagnosis.

She said: “It completely knocked us for six.

“It was a horrible thought when I first realised that Sam would have to spend his life in a wheelchair but we accepted the news and tried to make the best of what was a difficult situation.”

Sam had his first wheelchair at the age of three and Emma said he had gone through quite a few since.

She said: “We have had to get Sam a new wheelchair every couple of years because the chairs become too small for him.”

She added that Sam had previously used National Health Service wheelchairs however he had a bad experience with them.

She said: “The NHS chairs are pretty awful in our experience.

“Often they are not built for a child’s individual needs and in Sam’s case they did not suit his posture and in some cases the designs have been so poor that he has been unable to reach the wheels.”

Sam received his brand new state of the art wheelchair from Crest Nicholson builders, in partnership with Variety, a charity that works with sick, disabled and disadvantaged youngsters and teenagers.

Sam’s current, custom-made wheelchair costs £5,000.

It is blue and has a cushion and back designed to suit his posture.

Sam has an older sister, Chloe, 12, and brother Harrison, four, and Emma said his siblings liked the design.

She said: “Harrison is a big fan of the chair and he likes getting rides around the living room on his older brother’s lap!

“It is brilliant Sam has a personalised wheelchair and is really enjoying it.”