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Seven-year-old wishes for electric powered wheelchair to join in with her friends

PUBLISHED: 10:34 03 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 February 2018

Bethany Smith, seven, who is desperate to have an electric wheelchair she can drive herself rather than her family or her TA at school having to push her in her present chair. With her are her mum and dad, Steve and Caroline, and four-year-old sister Bonnie. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bethany Smith, seven, who is desperate to have an electric wheelchair she can drive herself rather than her family or her TA at school having to push her in her present chair. With her are her mum and dad, Steve and Caroline, and four-year-old sister Bonnie. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Bethany is hoping an electric wheelchair will increase her independence.

Bethany Smith, seven, who is desperate to have an electric wheelchair she can drive herself rather than her family or her TA at school having to push her in her present chair, and to be able to fit under her desk, or a table. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Bethany Smith, seven, who is desperate to have an electric wheelchair she can drive herself rather than her family or her TA at school having to push her in her present chair, and to be able to fit under her desk, or a table. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Many people her age wish for the latest toys, trainers and video games.

But seven-year-old Bethany Smith wants just one thing - an electric wheelchair so she can be more independent.

The Cringleford girl was diagnosed with the life-limiting neuromuscular condition Mitochondrial Myopathy when she was just 22 months old.

She was rushed into intensive care at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, 70 miles away, where she had to stay for five months.

The condition means that Bethany’s muscles are not as strong as they should be and the mitochondria in her cells do not provide her with enough energy for them to grow as big and strong as they should do.

It means she is not able to walk and has to get around in a wheelchair - and therefore has to rely on help from her parents and a school teaching assistant.

As a result Bethany’s parents have set up a GoFundMe account to raise £18,000 to buy Bethany the wheelchair that will make her wish come true. So far, more than £1,600 has been donated.

Steve Smith, Bethany’s dad, said: “At the moment it’s difficult when we go out for meals. The tables are all set at different levels and the chair Bethany has got means she often has to sit back from the table and it makes her feel left out. An electric wheelchair would allow her to sit up the table as the height of the chair can be adjusted.

“We went to a party a few weeks ago and it just wasn’t very accommodating to her. All she wants is to do the day-to-day things we do. She relies on us and her TA for her to be able to do things, she just wants to do it herself. She wants that independence at playtime and lunchtime and to join in more with games with her friends.”

An electric-powered wheelchair would help make her wish come true and she wouldn’t need to rely on her parents and TA to get her around, allowing her to be more independent.

Wheelchair services can only provide a basic chair and not one which would be able to let Bethany move herself up and down.

If you are able to donate anything towards the cost of Bethany’s electric powered wheelchair, visit www.gofundme.com/BethanysWish

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