The mum of a Larne boy with quadriplegia cerebral palsy says he has been given a “new lease of life” after a local butcher raised £37000 for a special wheelchair.
Dean Hodge raised around £3680 by competing in the Dublin marathon to fund a state-of-the-art running wheelchair for eight-year-old Finlay Spiers.
The new chair will allow Finlay, who also suffers from epilepsy and cannot walk or talk, to accompany his mum Karen when she takes park in local park runs and marathons.
“We have taken the chair out a couple of times and Finlay couldn’t stop giggling each time,” Karen told the Times.
“It’s an unbelievable chair, a lot lighter to push than his other wheelchair and it’s easier to manouevre with three wheels, whereas the other wheelchair’s wheels would have buckled.
“Finlay is more comfortable, he is in a better position.
“He loves to feel the wind in his face and it gives him a sense of freedom, when we are out he smiles and he is all giggles.
“I think he is giggling at me running along pushing the chair, and we love being able to spend that time together.”
With the buggy costing around £900, Karen plans to use the remaining money to build a play area and purchase more equipment for Finlay.
“The play area will feature things he will be able to do himself and the money will allow us to purchase a new chair and equipment as Finlay grows,” she continued.
“We would like to thank Dean for his fundraising as well as everyone who donated.
“We are even going to take part in a relay race at Larne Half Marathon in March!”
Fundraiser Dean said he is “more than pleased” at the amount donated by big-hearted locals.
“It’s brillliant and the money raised is going to go a long way for Finlay,” he stated.
“If I had raised £1000 I would have been happy, but to raise almost four times that shows that the people of Larne support each other.
“I would like to thank everyone who donated.”