A family have raised over £6,000 for an electric wheelchair for their eight-year-old son who has a progressive muscle wasting disease.
Henry has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a life limiting disease which primarily affects the lower body, but spreads over time to affect the upper body and vital organs.
In two years time it is unlikely that Henry will be able to walk like he can now, so his family, from Whitfield near Dover, wanted to get him a powered chair.
They set up a fundraising page and are overwhelmed to have beaten their target.
“We were just in tears, the generosity of people is so overwhelming,” Henry’s mother Natalie Lanaway said.
“It’s still going up now even though we’ve reached our target. It’s been quite emotional.”
She added that Henry’s manual wheelchair is becoming inadequate: “He is slowing down quite a lot and having a lot of falls.
“In the manual wheelchair he can self-propel but that is only on certain surfaces - if he was on the playground with his friends he can’t really do that.”
Henry’s manual wheelchair is provided by the NHS but he currently doesn’t fit the criteria to get a powered chair, so the family launched the appeal.
The estimated cost of Henry’s new wheelchair was £12,000, but the Red Eagle Foundation offered to match donations up to £6,000.
Wayne Hodgson, chairman of the foundation said: “As Henry’s disability progresses it will become more important that he will need to come away from a manual wheelchair to a more electric and bespoke chair that is actually fit for him.
“We’re in a position, thankfully, to be able to support the family and on this occasion we are going to match fund up to £6,000 from our charity fund that we use specifically for grants for families in Kent.
“That will give them the £12,000 they need to purchase this wheelchair.”
Henry’s new chair has been fully customised to fit him perfectly so has ended up totalling about £13,000. But since friends and family set up separate JustGiving pages, the family have reached this target too and are able to put down a deposit and order Henry’s new chair.
As well as getting Henry a better wheelchair, his family are also planning on extending their house to make it more accessible for him.
Mum Natalie said: “We’ve got a lot of space in the back garden of the bungalow so we know we’re going to be able to extend back about seven metres. We’re also extending out the front and the side of the property so Henry has access straight out of the car to inside the house.”
Henry’s family try to keep his disability as child friendly as possible due to his age.
He takes regular medication to keep his muscles strong for as long as possible including steroids, vitamin D, gene therapy drugs and heart medication.
He also attends Evelina Children’s Hospital for regular appointments.
His mum added: “Henry takes all of this in his stride and never ever moans.”