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Paralympic dreams could be in jeopardy
11:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A 12-year-old boy, who dreams of competing in wheelchair racing at the Paralympics, has seen his future in the sport put in jeopardy.
Ben Callander, from Penketh, has cerebral palsy, a neurological condition which affects his independent movement.
The condition means that the youngster requires a walking aid and wheelchair to get around but these obstacles have made Ben even more determined to achieve his dreams.
Mum, Bernadette Callander said: “We were lucky enough to go and see the Paralympics and, as soon as Ben saw the wheelchair racing, he begged us to find a local group that he could join.”
Inspired by six time gold medallist David Weir, Ben has already shown a great talent for wheelchair racing.
But his future in the sport is in uncertain as the charity offering to fund the vital equipment needed for wheelchair racing, Caudwell Children, is running out of funds.
Bernadette said: “The chair he is using at the moment is not specifically designed for Ben and, because he is getting so good, his coach said getting his own chair will help him get to the next level.”
Caudwell Children is committed to supporting the development of talented children by providing specialist disability sports equipment so that they can participate in competitive sport.
Ben, who competes in the T33 classification - one of eight classifications for athletes with cerebral palsy, has his hopes pinned on a specialist Draft Mistral racing wheelchair which would be specifically designed for the 12-year-old.
The wheelchair would provide him with a fighting chance in reaching his sporting goals.
Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, said: “This specialist piece of equipment, which is not available on the NHS, is crucial in helping Ben engage in competitive sport.
“But our funds are running low and unless we get the support of the local community donations then funding like this will disappear.”
Bernadette is desperate for the community to get behind Ben.
She said: “Ben’s big dream is to be in the Paralympics but, at the moment, he is working towards qualifying to compete in Switzerland. The new chair will help Ben to achieve this.
“Since taking up the sport Ben’s confidence has soared. He is doing exceptionally well and he absolutely loves it.”
Visit justgiving.com/BenCall or text BENc65 £2 to 70070.
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