March 7 2014 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A disabled Hornchurch teenager has been presented with a “life-changing” sports wheelchair by a Paralympic champion.
Jamie Dawson, a pupil at The Sanders Draper School in Suttons Lane, won a national competition to win a state-of-the-art Multisport chair.
He received it yesterday from Danny Crates, who won an 800m gold medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
The 14-year-old is a basketball fanatic having taken up the sport last year, and he said: “Basketball has made he realise there is more out there for me. I’m really proud of myself.”
Jamie, of Turner Road, was born with no lower legs. He now has prosphetic limbs but they make him very sore and he tires easily.
It is hoped the wheelchair will give him the chance to lead a more active life, and give him the opportunity to follow Crates into the Paralympics in his chosen sport. His mother, Melissa Christophi, said the chair will “change his life.”
She said: “Jamie needs his own chair to get better at the sport and to go to competitions.
“He’s been borrowing them from his club which isn’t ideal because he needs a specially-fitted chair.
“He can now play, train and improve his game which is excellent.”
The teenager trains with the Frenford Falcons basketball club, based in Ilford, and was selected to play for the London under-15s at the Copper Box after only playing the sport for a couple of weeks.
Jamie was entered into a competition run by Motivation, a provider of sports wheelchairs, and disability charity Scope.
He had no idea he was even in the running for the wheelchair until his mum told him he had won.
Miss Christophi said: “Jamie didn’t even know I’d entered him into the competition.
“I wanted it to be a surprise, which is was, and he’s obviously over the moon.”
Jamie has two brothers - Danny, 18, and 12-year-old Ben - who are both “incredibly supportive” of their sporty brother.
His mother added: “He dreams of going to the Paralympics one day.
“With this wheelchair, the sky is the limit.”