Wheelchair appeal so Welling teenager Jack can go outside

PUBLISHED: 13:21 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 18 March 2020

Mum and Jack share a tender moment together. Picture: Stephanie Waters

Mum and Jack share a tender moment together. Picture: Stephanie Waters


A Welling teenager who has bones so fragile they can break at any moment needs public help to get a special wheelchair that will give him back some of his freedom.

Jack is naturally full of life, but a suitable wheelchair will give him a whole new world. Picture: Stephanie WatersJack is naturally full of life, but a suitable wheelchair will give him a whole new world. Picture: Stephanie Waters

Jack Huggett’s bones can fracture from the slightest bump.

He’s lost the ability to walk and talk, his kidneys are failing and he is in constant chronic pain.

All of that means the 16-year-old can no longer use his standard wheelchair to leave the confines of his home.

And local wheelchair services can’t provide Jack with the specialist buggy he so desperately needs.

They have given the family a voucher for half the cost of the buggy his family says he needs, which is padded and fully supportive.

Newlife, the charity for disabled children, has provided a short term emergency loan of a specialist buggy for Jack and is now calling on the community to help to raise the extra £1,807 needed so he can have one of his own as soon as possible.

He has to receive all his nutrition and medication through tubes directly into his heart and in the past year he’s battled deadly sepsis three times and needed life-saving surgery for blocked bile ducts.

Just going outside is now too painful for Jack to bear, said Newlife.

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Mum Stephanie Waters said: “Although Jack doesn’t have an official diagnosis his doctors believe he has a progressive and degenerative metabolic condition. Life can be very hard, but Jack is determined to fight for every moment.

“Without the specialist buggy loan from Newlife right now he would be bed bound, unable to go anywhere, we’d be trapped. Being confined to bed would have such a detrimental impact on his physical and emotional well-being. It worries me that without this wheelchair Jack would give up fighting.

“Jack needs to be able to go to school and medical appointments; he wants to go out into the world to see everything and loves to meet people. To do any of this he needs a specialist buggy which can tilt backwards to reduce his pain and with padding so his bones won’t fracture so easily. He even got a fracture from being pushed over a pavement bump in his old wheelchair, it’s awful to see.

“He needs a buggy with space for all the medical equipment he needs with him at all times, including four litres of liquid nutrition given over 22 hours a day. It’s difficult to take that out with us in a standard wheelchair, there is just no room.

“The old wheelchair is too heavy to push properly and his catheter bags are on show which gives him no dignity at all – and if his IV lines get snagged he can bleed out. Wheelchair Services did offer us a bigger version of his old one, but it would be impossible for us to use.

“Although we hate to ask for help, a specialist buggy of his own would give Jack a much better quality of life. He deserves to be able to leave the house just like everyone else.”

Senior manager for Newlife’s child and family team, Carrick Brown, added: “Jack urgently needs a specialist buggy so he can simply go outside. It would also lift a big weight from his family who wouldn’t have to worry about Jack just being able to leave the house.

“Unfortunately, as much as we want to help Jack and his family, we simply don’t have the funds to buy the equipment right now. We are desperately appealing to the local community for help to raise the money so Jack can have the specialist buggy he urgently needs.”

Anyone able to help Jack can contact Newlife on 01543 431 444 or text NEWLIFE JACK to 70500 to give £10 to Jack’s appeal.

Newlife will receive 100 per cent of the donation. Texts cost £10 plus one message and at always get the bill payers permission.

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