Family of Sheffield teen with degenerative condition in plea to help fund new wheelchair

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The family of a brave Sheffield teen with a degenerative condition, which means he may only have another 10 years to live, are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help cover the cost of his new wheelchair.

16-year-old Ben Lewis, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, lost the use of his legs when he was 12 forcing him into a powered wheelchair for mobility.

The teen is now also losing his upper body strength, which means he is unable to use a cup and needs helping cutting food.

This lack of body strength means he is unable to transfer himself out of the chair, and he will soon be unable to use the powered wheelchair he relies on - but the replacement he needs will cost more than £21,000.

Ben’s family have raised £1,500 towards the cost of the chair, and have turned to the Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children to help them raise the rest.

Ben’s mum, Hannah, said: “The chair he needs now would support his posture and has different moving parts, so it would allow him to change position when he needs to. He could lie down which would prevent pressure sores developing and the seat also rises so people wouldn’t always be looking down on him, he could look people in the eye when he speaks to them and see what other people are seeing. It would give him the independence to move himself without being helped.”

“We just want Ben to have the best experiences he can while he’s with us.”

Hannah and Newlife are calling on local heroes to come forward and help Ben’s family to cover the cost of the chair.

Inspirational Ben, who lives with parents Hannah and Michael and 13-year-old sister Daisy, is a huge Sheffield United fan who goes to as many matches as possible, both home and away, loves trying fine food and says he is determined to see as much of life as possible.

Hannah says that Ben’s chair would help give him ‘more manoeuvrability and would mean he was as comfortable as possible, while giving him the freedom to go places and do things for himself.

“He is quiet, but has a ‘got to do it’ attitude and he just wants to go out and try things. We’ve tried to make his life as it would have been without the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.”

If you would like to help Ben, visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk/southyorkshire and click the ‘Donate Now’ button. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of the money donated to help Ben will be used to fund the powered wheelchair. Any surplus funding will help provide equipment for other disabled children in the county as Ben is one of 19 families in South Yorkshire with equipment needs of £47,571 currently working with the charity.