Monday , April 19 2021

Beach wheelchair helps 10 year old child with muscular dystrophy to return to his "happy place"



Thomas Morrison tries his new wheelchair on Kohimarama beach in Auckland.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF

Thomas Morrison tries his new wheelchair on Kohimarama beach in Auckland.

Thomas Morrison, a ten-year-old, loves water, but until recently, going to the beach was not an option.

Thomas has a rare form of muscular dystrophy – a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass – and uses a wheelchair, which makes it difficult to get into and out of the water.

But buying a new affordable beach chair means the Auckland kid can return to his "happy place" and spend good time with his family on the beach this summer, said mother Louise Morrison.

When he was younger, Morrison and his husband, Michael, could carry Thomas out of his chair across the sand and into the water.

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But as he got older, this became more difficult.

Thomas, his father Michael Morrison and his brother Jock, 5, enjoy the water.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF

Thomas, his father Michael Morrison and his brother Jock, 5, enjoy the water.

They even tried to pull Thomas down the beach in a trike, but his wheels got stuck in the sand.

"It has been very difficult to put it in and out of the water … we can not do this as a family."

Earlier this year, Thomas's school camped at Long Bay, which incidentally had some old beach chairs.

He spent the whole day in the water, Morrison said.

Essentially a hard plastic beach chair, air-filled wheels, the handy beach chair that they bought easily rolls on soft sand and mud.

Thomas can sit in the chair in the water and can "walk in the waves". It can also be used to enter and exit swimming pools.

Thomas' mother, Louise Morrison, waits on the beach for the family to return.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF

Thomas' mother, Louise Morrison, waits on the beach for the family to return.

"It opens up a whole new world for us," Morrison said.

"The ocean is your happy place and your little brother is so excited to be able to spend time with him in the water."

Because of his condition, Thomas is "deeply weak." It has a very low muscle tone and low bone density throughout the body, Morrison said.

Not only would the wheelchair allow him to do something he loves, but it would also be a great workout as it keeps the muscles and body in motion, she said.

"It's very important to keep him moving, it's very good for him.

"If you do not use your muscles, you lose them."

The St. Heliers family received $ 5730 from the Mazda Foundation for the chair. It was sent from Hamilton, arriving on Wednesday.


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