Paralyzed student uses “standing wheelchair” for the first time
Photo: (LR) Director Darran (CORR) Jones, Ethan Slater and mum Helen Black
Submitted by the Steve Morgan Foundation
A brave schoolboy from Chester left paralyzed in a horrific bicycle accident a year ago was able to get up for the first time using his own ‘standing wheelchair’.
Ethan Slater, 15, was given a £ 11,500 personalized wheelchair in early December, jointly paid for by the Steve Morgan Foundation and his school Christleton High School, Cheshire.
His mother Helen Black said:
“Seeing him use it for the first time was very emotional. He can stand or sit all day at school.
Ethan received the equipment almost a year after the accident that left him paralyzed from waist to toe.
Ethan was cycling home from Christleton High School near Chester on December 10, 2020, when he lost his balance and fell over the side of a passing heavyweight.
Ethan, who was 14 at the time, spent six months in hospital after breaking his back while suffering from brain bleeding.
The accident resulted in paralysis from the waist down and the Southport Spinal Center recommended a standing wheelchair, to help improve his bone density, digestive system and help reduce spasms.
However, the equipment costs over £ 11,500, not on the NHS essentials list, so the Steve Morgan Foundation and Ethan’s School have joined in purchasing it for him.
His mother Hélène said:
“We are very grateful to the Steve Morgan Foundation and Christleton High School because we could never have afforded something like this on our own. The wheelchair allows Ethan to stand at the same height as his peers, while helping him with his bodily functions.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, Helen said hearing her son would be paralyzed was “devastating,” but admitted it could have been even worse.
“I don’t think Ethan would be alive today if he hadn’t worn a helmet,” she said. “If the injury had been more serious, he might not have had any movement in his arms.
“We are waiting to be relocated as we cannot make any accommodations in our rental house, but I want to thank everyone who has helped us over the past year.
Helen remembers receiving the phone call last December that changed her family’s life.
“I was told that Ethan was involved in an accident and was taken to hospital,” she said. “I thought he would have broken an arm or a leg, but I was told he was flown to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and I felt pure panic and feared the worse.
“The police took us to the hospital and the trip seemed to take forever. When I looked at Ethan I thought I was looking at someone else because he was in an induced coma and had so many tubes coming out of him.
Two hours later, doctors performed CT scans and MRI scans and broke the explosive news to Helen and Ethan’s father, Matthew Slater, that there was no movement in his legs.
“They were concerned that he was paralyzed from the waist down,” said Helen. “Electrode tests were done to see if there was a chance he could walk but found no sign of movement. It was devastating to be told that he would probably never walk again.
“He managed to talk to us on Christmas Day which was a huge relief but unfortunately he couldn’t make any progress with the movement of his legs.
“They put metal rods on his back and he now goes to physiotherapy once a week where he uses a standing frame.”
It was soon after that his family learned that having their own wheelchair would increase Ethan’s independence.
Steve Morgan, CBE, who founded the Steve Morgan Foundation in 2001, was delighted to be able to work with Christleton High School to provide the standing wheelchair.
He said: “Accidents like this can happen to any of us. As a parent myself, my thoughts are with Ethan and his family during what must have been a devastating 12 months. We have set up our Enable Fund to support people like Ethan who need specialized equipment, including mobility aids, wheelchairs, strollers, wheelchairs and tricycles.
“We are delighted that we were able to help give Ethan more independence. “
Darran Jones, principal of Christleton High School, said money donated by the school was collected from two non-uniform days when students donated to the fund to wear their own clothes, the small amount of the proceeds. of the Year 11 Yearbook and the winner of the Christleton High School Association Grand Prize Draw and a generous parent who kindly donated their £ 200 prize.
He said, “It was something our students wanted to do for Ethan. It was their idea to create a fund for him and we still do fundraising events to help Ethan around the house.
“The chair will allow Ethan to maintain his leg muscles and keep his strength. I believe it also facilitates circulation and breathing exercises.
“I would like to thank the Steve Morgan Foundation for their generous support to Ethan and his family.”
See Ethan’s reaction here.
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