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MS sufferer Mike Wood, from Smeeth, fundraising for specially adapted wheelchair

An Ashford grandad who drives his worn-out wheelchair with his chin is fundraising for a new adapted model.

Mike Wood, 61, from Smeeth has battled progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for 26 years and is paralysed from the neck down.

His wife Alison, also 61, said he was first diagnosed with the neurological disease in 1991 and his condition deteriorated fast.

She said: "His progression was very rapid, he was in a wheelchair by 1993 and it was quite difficult for everyone to keep up with his needs. But he is very astute and he is determined to carry on with life as well as he can."

Mike wants to remain as independent as possible
Mike wants to remain as independent as possible

Mike, who formerly owned Ashford-based EMJAY carpets, is now fundraising for a new electric wheelchair that will give him as much independence as possible.

His current specialist adapted chair includes programmes to be able him to change position, unlock the door, answer the phone and call for help.

But his current model is on borrowed batteries and is worn out.

Alison said: “Mike’s needs have changed too. The chair no longer gives him the support he needs to remain safe and as comfy as possible.

“He currently controls his wheelchair with his chin and tongue but its basically knocking his teeth out.

“He needs a more specialist chair that will allow him to move the controls away from his face, among the other things it does.

Miek currently controls his wheelchair with his chin
Miek currently controls his wheelchair with his chin

“The NHS Wheelchair Department cannot provide for Mike’s needs, therefore we have to raise the money independently.”

A wheelchair specialist at Country Lifestyles has come up with the ideal prescription - but it costs £14,000.

While £6,000 is funded through an NHS voucher scheme, the family now have to find a further £8,000 for the new model.

Mrs Wood added: “We don’t ask for much but Mike wants a quality of life. His determination is so strong and he has inspired so many people.

“He is a man who wants to enjoy his life, he wants to carry on, he wants to see his family grow up, he wants to go to the pantomimes with his grandchildren and he just wants a wheelchair so he can keep going.”

The family have already raised more than £2,500 towards the wheelchair but still have a way to go.

Alison added: “I can honestly say it is heartwarming and uplifting to see so many people contributing to this.

“Basically, from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to sleep, Mike’s chair is his life. It’s his eyes and ears and without it he wouldn’t have any quality of life.

“So it really is fantastic that people are donating, thank you so much to everyone.”

To donate to Mike’s wheelchair fund visit his justgiving page here.

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