A £4,000 wheelchair could transform the life of a Broadstairs boy living with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Five-year-old Archie Page cannot talk, walk, stand or sit unaided. He also cannot eat or drink and has to be fed via a tube into his stomach. He requires 24 hour care and needs weekly therapies to help manage his disability.
Archie’s condition is due to a serious haemorrhage he suffered before birth, when mum Debbie was 32 weeks pregnant.
Against the odds Archie survived and Debbie and his dad Dave, 49, have striven to make his life as inclusive and comfortable for him as possible. Just over two years ago the Thanet community and businesses including Parkland Estates, rallied to help the family build a sensory garden and a new bedroom and wetroom for Archie.
The campaign gathered such pace that many isle residents now regularly follow Archie’s progress on facebook.
Former Tesco Extra manager Debbie said: “People regularly say hello, Archie is a celebrity in his own right!”
Now Killakam MMA and Golden Gloves Boxing Acadamy (pictured with self-employed plumber Dave and Archie) have teamed up to host a fight night at Margate Winter Gardens to raise the cash for the specialised wheelchair, which is not available on the NHS.
The custom-made wheelchair could mean Archie is able to join his little brother Jack, three, on family trips to the park and eventually be able to start school.
It is made by taking moulds of Archie’s body (above) to produce a bespoke chair that will keep him in exactly the right position to make sure he is comfortable and secure.
Debbie, 31, said: “Archie is getting bigger now and transporting him is proving more difficult.
“Because of his condition he has to be kept in the right position and posture. Archie’s hips are coming away where he does not move and we need to keep his spine straight.
“His muscles are very weak because his joints are not used so the muscles do not keep them in place.
“We just want to keep him comfortable for as long as we can. The chair is expensive because we cannot just buy it off the shelf and the wheelchair service do not currently support the chair we want for Archie.
“Archie is very special to me, his dad and the family. He does not want much out of life other than to be loved. He can’t communicate and join in socially and that could leave him isolated. With the chair we’ll all be able to go out, even just for a walk, and he would be comfortable and secure enough to start school.
“He is a happy, calm, sensitive little boy who just wants to be part of the family. Jack now wants to go out to places like the park and it is getting more difficult as Archie grows. Having all the right equipment would help us to keep family life as normal as possible for all of us.
“Archie is so lovely and for a little boy who can’t say anything, his happiness is all in his face when he smiles and laughs. We have our difficulties and obstacles and sometimes it is not easy but Archie is worth all of that and more. We just want him to be happy.”
The Killacam night on October 21 features fighters from the UK, including the isle, and Europe.
The doors at 5.30pm with the charity boxing bouts followed by the MMA fights with three belts on the line.
Money is also being raised for Archie through a crowdfunder page. Click here to donate
Killacam and Golden Gloves Boxing Academy fundraiser
VIP £650 (table of 10)
Standard £30 In advance, £35 on the night
Book by calling 01843 292795 or click here
What is quadriplegic cerebral palsy?
Quadriplegic cerebral palsy is a form of cerebral palsy that means the “loss of use of the whole body.” It’s the most severe type of cerebral palsy, marked by the inability to use the legs, arms and body.
It is generally caused by brain damage either before birth, during, or shortly after.
The symptoms include muscles that rapidly contract and release; joints that cannot stretch or move; speech impediments/language disorder; inability to walk and seizures. There are also associated problems with eating and swallowing.
Around a quarter of youngsters with the condition develop scoliosis (a curvature of the spine).
Although there is no cure, therapies, along with medications and sometimes surgery, have given numerous children the chance to lead more productive lives with lessened pain.