A WHEELCHAIR basketball player has lent his support to a charity appeal to help paralysed patients walk using a hi-tech bionic suit.
Ian Sagar, who represented Great Britain in this year’s Paralympic Games, has become a patron of the Sheffield Hospitals Charity, which is raising funds to buy the suit.
The device would be used by patients at the Spinal Cord Injury Centre at the Northern General Hospital, where Ian was treated after paralysing his legs in a motorbike accident 13 years ago, aged 17.
“This piece of equipment would be great,” said Ian.
“It would prove the centre is at the forefront of medical assistance and would show old and new patients that anything is possible and never to lose hope.”
The charity needs to collect £100,000 to pay for the suit, which has motorised joints.
Doctors say it would provide physical as well as psychological benefits for patients, who are able to move and hold conversations at eye level.
While undergoing treatment, Ian was encouraged to take part in wheelchair basketball as part of rehabilitation.
“The staff consistently go over and above their duties,” he said.
“The ward and the people who support it help those patients build their lives again, it’s as simple as that.
“Being cared for by the staff made me realise that life’s not over and that you can still have a pretty good life.
“For me, my life has actually turned out better than it was before my injury.”
He added: “I am honoured to be a patron for the Sheffield Hospitals Charity. I feel passionate about doing my utmost to increase support and funding so they can provide that extra level of comfort that really makes a difference.”
To donate money towards the appeal log on to Sheffield Hospital Charity or call 0114 271 1351.
Cheques can also be sent to 5 Old Fulwood Road, Sheffield, S10 3TG, made payable to Sheffield Hospitals Charity.