Toby was one of 40 disabled people to join WheelPower in Tidworth, Wiltshire for the latest wheelchair sports festival. Toby (13) and his dad travelled from nearby Swindon for the day and their first experience of a WheelPower event. They enjoyed it so much they are now signed up to the National Junior Games later this year. This is Toby’s story …

“A little under 2 years ago we found put that Toby had a tumour in his spinal cord, and at that point it left him unable to use the bottom half of his of his body. After surgery they managed to remove 70% of the tumour but even with the release of the pressure it’s left him with partial paralysis of his right leg.”

“Toby is in mainstream school and he’s their first child in a wheelchair for 7 years which has been a learning experience for us and them. There has been two other wheelchair users now joined this year. They see him as a bit of an icon but he doesn’t follow the rules and pulls wheelies down the hallways and things! Thankfully their head of PE now is a lot more proactive but when you mention Paralympics and GB and future sports and their ears prick up!”

The Importance of Sport

“He’s always been a massively sporty child. Played rugby from u6s to u11s when he was first diagnosed. Fitness and activity have been hugely important to him post injury too. We accidently fell into a number of sports and he’s mad into his wheelchair rugby at the moment. He has recently been included GBWR youth development programme. He also loves his wheelchair athletics as well and currently trains in 100, 200, 400m sprints.”

“Both sports he’s into at the moment hail to be quite promising going forward. He’s been picked up by the Solent sharks WRC and their team has 5 GB players and coaches who really nurture him down there as he’s the only junior they have got, and it’s quite promising really.”

WheelPower Festival

“He loves to find new sports and loves trying new sports and this has been brilliant today. It’s the first one we’ve been to after my wife found out about it through Facebook. There’s not much going on in our area and she found it and signed us up!

Toby continues, “I have been liking the fencing a lot which has been fun, you get to lock swords and hit each other! I’ve never done it before so it was fun to try. The coach has taken my details and they are only in Wantage so I might give it another go. I have met a friend here today from Solent Sharks and made another friend. Dads also been chatting to other parents too (a lot more than me!) I would recommend it and will be telling the two lads at school about it now.”

“We’ve been quite secluded from other families of children in wheelchairs so these events are really good. It has been nice to share experiences and gain an understanding, hear how other families have been doing. Sometimes you don’t know what’s on your doorstep until someone else points it out.”

“I would most definitely recommend it to other parents. Its not just for the interaction with other children in the same situation to them, but for Toby whose so physically driven to find more inclusive sports to play has been fantastic opportunity.”