Sunderland schoolboy sets out on mile-a-day challenge to help family member raise £11,000 for wheelchair

A nine-year-old is pounding the pavements for a mile each day as he helps raise funds to get a family member moving with a new electronic wheelchair.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 4:48 pm

Zac Divens, from Doxford Park, decided to set up the challenge throughout March to help gather sponsorship to pledge to the £11,000 campaign to help his godfather Sean Barker.

Sean, 32, has cerebal palsy and needs the chair to help him live independently, with plans to move out of his mum’s Alnwick home and into his own accommodation once again after moving to the region from Portsmouth.

After finding there was no funding available through the health service or Governments, he has started fundraising to pay for the equipment, which will be kitted out it can reach kitchen counters, light switches and sinks so he can look after himself.

David Divens has been cataloguing his son Zac's daily runs as he sets out to complete a mile each day during March.

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Until then, he has to be adjusted in his chair by family members to alleviate discomfort and help him with tasks.

Zac, a pupil at St Leonard’s RC Primary in Silksworth, set himself an initial target of £250, but has already smashed that with more than £680 in the fund.

He has been supported by his school and family, dad David, 35, mum Sonya McLoughlin, and sister Aliza, who is due to turn three this weekend – Sean is also his mum’s cousin.

Sean Barker is raising £11,000 for a new wheelchair to help him live independently.

David said: “I don’t know another nine-year-old who is doing what he’s doing and I don't think Zac understands how much good he is doing.

"He doesn’t make any fuss and he’s getting out there and that’s a massive thing for a kid of his age and I know he’ll finish it off.

"We’re very proud of him.

"He said to me he would give every penny he had in the bank to help Sean.

"This chair will be life-changing for him.”

On his funding page, Sean has told supporters: “I've had quite a few power chairs throughout my life, which can be very costly.

"As the Government have drastically reduced, or taken away benefits , disabled people are struggling to find it anywhere near possible to afford chairs to suit their needs.

"For me, I need something that will help keep my independence."

Zac’s fundraising page can be found via https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dave-divens and Sean’s can be visited through https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-shaun-purchase-a-new-wheelchair.

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