The Paratreker is proving to be a ‘lifeline’ for a Lanarkshire primary schoolgirl with mobility needs.
A twin, Poppy was born 13 weeks prematurely with cerebral palsy spastic diplegia, a neurological condition that affects muscle control and coordination. As a result, she struggles to bend her legs, and the muscles in her hips and legs are very tight.
Poppy is also deaf and has chronic lung disease.
The 11-year-old normally walks with a frame but, after falling and breaking her big toe last year, she has been struggling to weight bear.
Whilst Poppy had been managing to get around school with her frame, COVID-19 lockdown has confined her to the house and a wheelchair and, without the Paratreker, she would have been unable to get outdoors for her daily exercise.
Lynzi, Poppy’s mum, said: “The Paratreker has been a lifeline, these past few weeks - without it we just wouldn’t have been able to get out. It’s a total game changer. We go on wild walks and don’t have to stick to paths – it’s an absolute godsend.”
Paratreker is available in a three-wheeled version, Paratreker 3, and a four-wheeled model, Paratreker 4.
Poppy is currently using the three-wheeled version of the all-terrain wheelchair, which she prefers as there is no requirement for her to steer, and her mum said she ‘just loves it’. But, through previous expeditions with Paradventures, a charity facilitating adventures for the disabled, Poppy has climbed mountains in a Paratreker 4.
Lynzi said:“We [Poppy’s parents] like the four-wheel version because of some of the challenging routes we are doing but, in the fields and grass, the three-wheeler is amazing. We had a wee “disabled needs pushchair” before but it’s really just a big buggy and she [Poppy] hated it. We couldn’t do the journeys that we have done with the Paratreker because it [the disabled needs pushchair] is just not set up for it.”
With the Paratreker, Poppy has been able to participate in walks with her parents, older twin brother Josh and Fergus, the family Husky – an activity which is essential for her mental health in these unprecedented times.
She also enjoys runs through the large enclosed dog run in her back yard where Lynzi socialises puppies as part of her dog walking business.
Inspired by the experiences the Paratreker has given her daughter, Lynzi has founded ‘Poppy’s Vision’, an organisation to help children with disabilities have adventures outdoors, and is currently fundraising to buy a Paratreker for it.
She said: “Every child should be able to go and play over in the woods or in the water. We make a picnic, we skiddle in the burn and we go off where no one can find us. It’s life changing.”