A 16-year-old Cerebral Palsy wheelchair-bound boy from Lincoln has received the “best Christmas present ever” – being able to stand up.William Farr school pupil Owen Picker has been confined to a wheelchair for the last three years and has been unable to stand or walk at all.In October, Owen, who has battled with a debilitating neurological condition all his life, decided to appeal for help in raising money for a new electric wheelchair that would transform his life.And now, Owen’s dream Christmas present has arrived, enabling him to place the star on the Christmas tree for the first time Cerebral Palsy.He said:
“It’s the best Christmas present ever – I can stand now and move around more and do loads more than I could ever do before.”Owen was born at 29 weeks and was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old.Until he was 13, Owen had to use a wheelchair but was able to walk short distances.But the youngster started getting hip pain and was told he would need surgery or his hips would come out of their sockets.
Cerebral Palsy surgery meant Owen would be wheelchair-bound for life – but after three years of wheeling around in his NHS chair, Owen discovered a hi-tech chair that would move faster and enable him to stand up.At a cost of £32,000, Owen set up an appeal to ask for donations for the chair but within just weeks, a stranger got in touch and offered to pay the lot.A businesswoman from Bridlington told Owen’s mum, Sarah Dennington, she often gave money to charity but said she felt that sometimes donations got “swallowed up” – so she wanted to give something more direct.Sarah said the new wheelchair had made a massive difference to Owen’s life.
“He’s loving it – it’s absolutely brilliant,” the 39-year-old said.
“He’s becoming stronger.
“He’s much happier in general, all the frustrations he had before have gone.
“This is the first year he has been able to reach up to put the star on the tree. It brought a tear to our eyes.”
Now that he can stand, Owen is enjoying being able to do all the things “regular” people can.
He said: “I can reach food off shelves and get stuff without my mum having to help. If I want to make a cup of tea, I can.
“When we were putting the Christmas tree up, I was able to put the star on the top – something I’ve never been able to do before.
And he is still yet to meet the stranger who gave him his present.