By Frances Ryan in The Guardian.
One of my abiding childhood memories was being given my first wheelchair. Until I was six, I had to resort to a large buggy, a mass of translucent plastic frames and ugly grey wheels. It was through the charity Whizz-Kidz that I finally got my first wheelchair, a streamlined seat in midnight purple. I remember taking my newfound freedom to my local Morrisons, home of the shiniest floor in town. I had gone from being trapped in plastic to sitting in a rocket ship, throwing myself down the crisps and snacks aisle.
A decade later, I had outgrown the chair and my family were back to working out how we would pay for a new one – this time a pricier, electric wheelchair that cost at least £5,000. My mum wrote to the board of local charities, we saved what we could, and Whizz-Kidz again filled in the rest.
As an adult, two things have stayed with me: gratitude to the organisation that gave me my independence, and a niggling question. Why in modern Britain do families of disabled children have to turn to charity for help?
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