October 25, 2022 by Variety QLD Admin

Variety grant recipient Jackson has big dreams of kicking goals in his favourite sport, AFL. However, the route to his sporting success has not been as simple as it is for most kids.

Jackson faces challenges from living with a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy (diplegia) and requires a wheelchair for his mobility. He gets around using a manual wheelchair, but this isn’t suitable or safe for high intensity sports like AFL. To properly excel at AFL, Jackson requires a sports wheelchair which is financially out of reach for his family. Unfortunately this was not covered under his NDIS plan, so his family turned to Variety for support.

We stepped in and provided his family with a grant for a Quickie All Court Ti model lightweight custom sports wheelchair. This was all thanks to the generosity of Keystone Private who funded the grant as part of their Variety Bash fundraising.

On his grant day, Jackson was the star of the show when news crews from Channel 9 and 7 interviewed him and his family. He even got to meet AFL players he looks up to from the Gold Coast SUNS AFLW team. They welcomed him with open arms into the AFL community and gifted him with a shirt signed by all of the players as well as a Gold Coast SUNS cap. Jackson couldn’t contain his excitement when he got to use his brand new sports wheelchair for the very first time. The first game he played with his new wheelchair was throw and catch with a player from the Gold Coast SUNS.

Pictured above: Jackson played throw and catch with Gold Coast SUNS AFLW player

The wheelchair design ensures that Jackson’s feet and legs are safely contained while playing sports which is not possible in a regular manual wheelchair. It is incredibly light, balanced, and manoeuvrable, with a small backrest that allows his arms to move freely. It also features high set wheels that let Jackson propel the wheelchair while simultaneously using sports equipment. Jackson’s growth was also kept in mind, so the wheelchair will support him for as long as practical during this fast-growing period of his life.

Variety’s mascot Heartly and some of the Variety team also attended to support Jackson on his grant day. All these elements helped make it a special day that Jackson will remember forever. He’s looking forward to finally being able to follow his AFL dreams and be a part of the AFL community.

Jackson is just one of many kids that Variety has provided life-changing mobility equipment for. Variety’s work helps the kids who need it most to gain mobility, freedom, get out and about in the community, communicate, achieve independence, and increase self-esteem. The aim is to give all kids a fair go and the opportunity to reach their full potential – no matter their ability or circumstance.

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