Samantha gets ready to run the Bath Half in memory of her son

Samantha McNamee with Alfie, his dad and his sister leaning against a wall and Alfie in his Wizzybug powered wheelchair

A Wizzybug mum will be taking on the Bath Half on Sunday 17 March in loving memory of her son, Alfie McNamee, who passed away in 2015.

Alfie loved life with his Wizzybug

We provided Alfie, who was living with muscular dystrophy, with a free Wizzybug powered wheelchair in 2013 when he was only 18 months old. The family had taken him along to a local mobility centre to check if he would be suitable for a powered wheelchair in the years to come. It was then that they discovered Wizzybugs for younger children.

Alfie had a go in their demo model and the family then made arrangements to make a referral to us at Designability. After coming to Bath to pick one up, he went on to use his Wizzy until just before his 4th birthday.

In the two years he had it, Alfie would use it at home, outside and at playgroup. His mum, Samantha, said: “Alfie was such a chilled out little boy, but Wizzybug enabled him to drive off when he chose to. When we visited playgroup, the children would have sing-a-long time, but, despite loving singing, he was much more of a solo performer, so he would often just take off into another room in his Wizzy!

“At the end of each group, they would bring out ride-on toys for the children to play with. It was a great moment where Alfie was able to join in with everyone else. Or rather, they were able to join in with him.”

Running became a way for Samantha to cope

Sadly, at Christmas 2015, Alfie passed away. Samantha had never been interested in running before Alfie died, but, in the months following the loss of her son, she found a local women’s running group and signed-up.

She said: “I wanted to get involved with something to help me to cope with the loss of Alfie and so I started running. My local running group was great for socialising and the exercise was great therapy for me.

“I started with a ‘couch to 5k’ programme and have been running ever since.”

Samantha got in touch with us when she saw we were looking for people to join #TeamAbility for the Bath Half Marathon 2019.

“I really wanted to fundraise for Designability as a way of thanking them for the Wizzybug Loan Scheme. I know for certain, in the short time Alfie was with us, Wizzy had a massive impact on his quality of life and his development.

I have been feeling quite emotional during my training and I think the day itself will be very challenging knowing that I’m doing it for Alfie, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and the great atmosphere of the event.”

We are pleased to share that Alfie’s physiotherapist, Rebecca Randall, has decided to join forces with Samantha and will be running alongside her on the day. We wish them both the best of luck in their quest to raise funds in Alfie’s memory which will enable us to help more children like him.