A north Northumberland mum has issued a DIY SOS appeal for help to get her home suitably adapted for her disabled teenage son’s needs.
Harry Thompson, who won the Northeast Press Best of Northumberland Sporting Achievement award, suffers from a severe muscle wasting condition called Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which means he is wheelchair bound.
The 19-year-old athlete plays boccia for England and his mum, Michelle, has been trying – without success – to get her rented home at East Learmonth Farm, near Cornhill, adapted for the past 12 months.
Her frustrations boiled over during the festive break when his inflatable bath seat broke.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain for the last few weeks with my back because of the constant lifting,” said Michelle.
“I lost my patience when Harry’s inflatable bath seat broke while he was in the bath and I had to lift him out on my own.”
She added: “As the local authority have failed to provide an adapted bathroom and access for this independent young disabled athlete in his home for the past 13 months, we have decided to undertake a project to raise funds and appeal to relevant tradesmen to help Harry out.”
Specialised bathroom equipment is in storage and needs installing to create an en-suite which he can use with his mobile hoist. He also needs a ramp for access into the house.
Michelle added: “It will enable Harry to regain a level of dignity and independence an accessible bathroom provides and ease the difficulties within this family that the current bathroom facilities are causing.
“He is a full-time wheelchair user and although he is fiercely independent, he relies on others for help in most aspects of his life.”
Michelle is hoping for tradesmen to help with the project as in the BBC DIY SOS series. She has also asked for quotes for the work which will set a fund-raising target.
“In the meantime if any relevant tradespeople are interested in helping Harry out, please let us know,” said Michelle.
How to help with Harry’s appeal
A page has been set up on Facebook called Harry’s DIY SOS to appeal for donations and support and a Justgiving site is also in operation at www.justgiving.com/harry-thompson4.
Disabled athlete Harry jointly won the Best of Northumberland Sporting Achievement Award last September for his commitment to playing Boccia for England and his continued success in the sport.