Sheffield Wednesday fans coming together to gift independence to Owls-mad youngster this Christmas

A passionate young Sheffield Wednesday fan is the subject of a Christmas fundraising push that – if achieved – would give him ‘more freedom’ as he grows up through childhood.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 4:30 pm

Stocksbridge youngster Owen Haslam, eight, has cerebral palsy and enjoys everything an able-bodied young lad would, from boxing lessons to following Wednesday up and down the country with his Owls-mad father Mark.

Owen was featured in The Star back in August when images of him celebrating their derby win at Rotherham United gathered an enthusiastic following on social media.

Life with a youngster has its challenges though and now his family are in the process of a major renovation of their family home – which will cost upwards of £30,000 – to keep up with Owen’s growing body.

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Their fundraising push centres on the purchase of a new wheelchair that Mark hopes will contribute to offering his son the freedom he needs to get about with more independence – without the constant aid of mum and dad.

“As he’s getting bigger, it’s getting more and more difficult for his mum to carry him. We’re having a bedroom built for him downstairs at the minute, we’re having doors widened and stuff, and he’ll have his own bathroom,” Mark said.

“We’ve been looking to get him a new chair for a bit, so he can manoeuvre himself about more easily and give him that bit of freedom. Cost is obviously an issue so my sister suggested we set up a Gofundme.”

The page hopes to raise £5,000 of an approximate £8,000 bill for a new lightweight and custom-made chair. Within just 24 hours of the page being set up and put online, they had raised over half their target.

Fundraisers are contributing towards a new wheelchair for eight-year-old Sheffield Wednesday fan Owen Haslam.

“We’ve had an incredible response in just a couple of days, especially given it’s so close to Christmas which is obviously a tough time for people. We’re so grateful and we can’t believe the response we’ve had,” Mark said.

“We’re having everything widened to give him that bit of independence so he can get about and the chair is part of that.

“The chair he has currently is an NHS stock chair which has been brilliant, we couldn’t have done without it, but it does require adult assistance to get about whereas a custom chair gives him more freedom.

“To see him with that bit more independence will just be brilliant. We can’t thank people enough for their support.”

Earlier this season Sheffield Wednesday sent Owen a pair of signed gloves from his favourite player, goalkeeping hero Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

The Haslam pair – who are no relation to Owls academy boss Steve – have continued in their following of the youngster’s heroes all season and have enjoyed going to the majority of matches this season.

One day the eight-year-old will be able to attend matches himself of course but its a journey that starts with a wheelchair and the increase of independence that comes with it.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to the Haslam’s fundraising push can do so via www.gofundme.com/f/help-owen-get-a-new-chair.