When Zach started falling over for no obvious reason and complaining of pains in his feet his mother simply put it down to growing pains, not for one moment could she have foreseen that within a couple of years her young son would be confined to a wheelchair.
Four years’ on and, despite having undergone countless tests and scans, 13-year-old Zach’s condition remains a mystery.
“It’s such a worry,” says the Wildern schoolboy’s mum, Nicki. “He’s getting progressively worse but they [clinical teams] cannot pinpoint the cause. The hardest thing is watching Zach deteriorate but not being able to do anything about it and not knowing what to expect or to know how far his condition will worsen.”
Having no official diagnosis for Zach’s condition, Nicki was unaware she could access Eastleigh Borough Council’s Disabled Facilities Grant scheme. It was only through a conversation with Zach’s occupational therapist that Nicki was directed to the scheme.
“We didn’t know about the scheme,” says Nicki. “It was only Zach’s occupational therapist who mentioned it. She referred us and helped us to fill in the forms. We then were lucky enough to qualify for a home assessment from the team at Eastleigh Borough Council.
“It’s been an absolute lifeline for us.”
Home adaptations that have been carried out to date include the installation of entrance ramps and a stair-lift. Eastleigh Borough Council has also given the go-ahead to convert an upstairs bathroom into a wet room and is currently looking at ways to widen internals doorways to accommodate Zach’s wheelchair.
“These adaptations are helping Zac to maintain his independence which is really important for a teenage boy,” says Nicki. “He is dealing with so much, and coping so well, that it’s lovely for him to be able to have that independence at home.
“The stair-lift enables him to get upstairs without the support of others. He’s really excited about having a wet room as again it will give him so much more independence.”
Nicki adds: “As Zach’s illness is progressive his needs are constantly changing; it’s really good to know there is a team at Eastleigh Borough Council who we can turn to for help as we face these ongoing challenges. We have such gratitude to all involved for the support Zach has been given.”
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