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Wizzybug enables Annabelle to achieve more than she ever could before

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Young girl in Wizzybug powered wheelchair, smiling

Wizzybug has given Annabelle and her parents the chance to do ‘normal’ things together as a family

Why Annabelle needed our help

When Annabelle was 9 months old, a blood test confirmed that she had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) type 1. Her parents had known that something wasn’t right when she began to lose movement and wasn’t moving her legs. She was showing no ability to play with her toys.

Her mum and dad were given the devastating news that it was unlikely that she would live past the age of 18 months. They threw themselves into seeking support and information on how they could help their daughter and came across Wizzybugs on an SMA support page online.

What we did

Annabelle received her free Wizzybug from us just after her 1st birthday, as her dad explains:

“We applied to the Wizzybug Loan Scheme as soon as we found out about it. It was so straight forward which was refreshing when managing all the other challenges and difficulties that we were facing. We didn’t have to fight for a Wizzybug like so many other services and pieces of equipment.”

“There was nothing else like a Wizzybug out there.”

Although Annabelle was unsure of it at her assessment, once they got it home, she had her first go in the back garden. It was the first time her parents had seen her move herself independently.

They started by playing hide and seek games in the kitchen and outside to get her used to being in it and moving herself around.

How we made a difference

Young girl in Wizzybug powered wheelchair outdoors with face paint and a fairy wandWizzybug has become so much more than a powered wheelchair for Annabelle. It helps her to communicate, make her own choices and play freely with other children.

Her mum and dad said:

“Wizzybug is like an extension of Annabelle’s body. She communicates with it and reacts with her movements in it. She can drive over to us (and away from us!) and turn the joystick to move precisely where she wants to go.”

“It’s given us the ability to do ‘normal’ things as a family. Things that we would never have been able to do without it. We take our dog, Esmae, for a walk and Annabelle loves to help out around the house, especially hanging out the washing!”

The family have recently attended a number of family weddings where Annabelle has been able to join in with her young cousins:

“She has been able to go off onto the dance floor as she chooses. We have been able to truly relax for the first time without having to assist, knowing that she’s happy and able to join in without us carrying her or pushing her around.”

“Wizzybug has given Annabelle so much confidence. It’s helped with her overall development and has become a part of how she expresses herself.”

“It goes everywhere with us as a family and plays such an important role in our lives.”

Please note

(1) For permission to use this information or to access images please speak to our Marketing and Communications Officer, Fiona Cromwell  fionacromwell@designability.org.uk 01225 824103.

(2) We respect everyone who comes to us for help. So while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.

*Top image is © 2020, Sara Brown, Rocking Horse Photography Ltd.

*Outdoor image of Annabelle is copyright of photographer Amanda Hall.