Bradley, 20, is a keen carpenter and wheelchair basketball player from West Bromwich. He has, Syringomyelia, which is a rare condition of the spine, Bradley is very independent but needs a wheelchair for mobility.
Bradley said: “I received my first manual wheelchair from the NHS when I was 13 but, as I was at school at the time, I did a lot of mileage every day getting there and back and the wheelchair I was given was very heavy. It also wasn’t fitted properly so it could often become very uncomfortable to sit in. I can honestly say it felt like trying to carry a pallet of house bricks when I moved around. My arms used to get extremely tired and sore and this meant that I often just couldn’t go to the places I wanted to. Not being able to do simple things like shopping made me very low and I grew more and more disheartened.”
By the time Bradley was 16, and travelling to and from college every day, his wheelchair was growing less and less suitable for his needs, with breakages and punctures happening more frequently. Luckily, Bradley heard about Whizz-Kidz through a friend and got in touch. He was invited to a clinic shortly after to meet with a specialist Whizz-Kidz therapist and was quickly fitted with a new lightweight titanium wheelchair.
“Meeting with the therapist was amazing and they knew exactly what I needed. I couldn’t believe it when my new wheelchair arrived. It is much lighter than my previous one and actually fits me properly so that I don’t get uncomfortable anymore. I can now go anywhere I like and know that it won’t be too heavy for me to move. It has given me so much more independence and freedom.
“Soon after I got my new chair, I also started to attend the Whizz-Kidz Ambassador Clubs in Birmingham, which were great. Before then, I wasn’t very sociable, but at the clubs I got to meet new friends and they gave me ten times more confidence. All the staff were so friendly and encouraged me to try new things like their Young Leader programme, which really inspired me to keep going and do more.”
Bradley joined the Whizz-Kidz ‘Kidz Board’ in March 2017 and is now an advocate for young disabled people across the West Midlands, regularly speaking out on their behalf about the issues they may be facing. Having just completed his Level 2 in Carpentry, Bradley hopes to one day become a site manager.
“It’s my dream to be a carpenter and I am very good with my hands so doing my carpentry qualification was brilliant. I would never have had the confidence to reach for my dreams if it wasn’t for Whizz-Kidz and as the representative for the West Midlands on the Kidz Board, I am the voice for young disabled people in the region and aim to make change wherever I can. My role involves me regularly campaigning on local issues such as transport and accessibility and contacting my local MP when necessary.
“I can’t thank Whizz-Kidz enough for the care and support they gave me when I thought that nobody else could help. It is now my aim to make sure that other young disabled people have a voice and know that there is the right support out there and also inspire them to follow their passions.”