Published: 00:01, 28 July 2018
The family of a profoundly disabled boy say their dreams have come true after a charity donated the remaining £15,000 for a wheelchair to transform his life.
Curtis Ratcliffe, seven, has severe cerebral pals, epilepsy, scoliosis, hip dysplasia and is blind.
His dads, Kyle and Garry, former head teacher at Milton Court School in Milton Regis, started a fundraising campaign in January to raise money to buy equipment that would allow him to become more independent.
They won the hearts of the nation when the BBC’s DIY SOS team created a purpose-built home in Brambledown for them and their four adopted children in October 2016.
Since the beginning of this year, the Ratcliffes managed to raise nearly £4,500, but the equipment Curtis needs – a Smart Mustang Power Chair – comes with a price tag of £20,000.
It would allow him to travel independently along a pre-determined route using a head switch control.
Kyle, 40, said: “It’s a lot of money – you could buy a family car for less than that – but with children like Curtis, everything is specialised.
“There’s not another child down the road that could use the chair Curtis needs. It’s specifically made for him.”
He added: “Curtis can’t move his arms or hands, but can use his head.
"So with this chair, he will be able to make more choices for himself.
"At the moment, he doesn’t make any choices in his day at all - what clothes he’s going to wear, what food he eats, what equipment he will sit in.
"This will enable him to do something for himself.”
Last Tuesday, the Ratcliffes had a visit from charity Donations with a Difference, which the family had applied to for some funding towards Curtis’s new chair.
“It was a bit of a shock,” Kyle said. “They said they were coming round to do a cheque presentation for £900, which we thought was fantastic – another step closer to reaching our target.
“But within a matter of moments, they said that wasn’t good enough and they wanted to help a bit more, whipped out a blank cheque and said how much do you need? They ended up giving us the remaining £15,538 we needed – it’s just amazing.”
The new chair should arrive within four to six weeks.
He said: “We can’t thank the charity enough, without their help we would still be slugging away and trying to come up with more creative ideas to raise the money we needed, and without the generosity of all the people who donated, we wouldn’t have been able to put the order in and Curtis wouldn’t be able to enjoy the summer holidays.”