In this case study, we come across a theme that is becoming common when learning more about how the Trust has helped individuals. Charlie applied to the Trust because he was using a sports wheelchair that was not the correct fit for him, and the help we gave him made a dramatic change to his enjoyment of tennis.
Charlie started playing tennis at just 4 years old, encouraged by his tennis mad Gran. In his teenage years Charlie also developed an interest in coaching and was moving towards this path, when at age 15 he started falling over quite a lot. His falls got so bad that he had to stop playing tennis, and by age 16 he was diagnosed with complex hereditary spastic paraplegia, a motor neuron disease.
Into the fore came Charlie’s tennis coach – Andy Bell, who by chance also happens to be a committed andCharlie in his new tennis wheelchair valued part of the disability tennis community. After a fair bit of persistence, Andy convinced Charlie, and his mum, that he could still play tennis; trying it in a wheelchair. Charlie really enjoyed this new opportunity and realised that he could still enjoy the sport he loved while managing his condition.
The problem was that Charlie was using a borrowed basketball chair, that didn’t fit him very well. Charlie suffers from reflex tremors in his legs, and being in a chair not right for his body meant the tremors travelled through his whole body, making the experience quite painful.
Charlie’s mum Anna heard of the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust and secretly put in an application for Charlie to have his own chair, measured exactly for him. The Trust was able to grant the application, and with the personal contribution being generously donated by tennis mad Gran, Charlie quickly received his own chair.
The difference to Charlie is outstanding. He is now able to enjoy his tennis so much more, and in comfort, that he also completed his Level 1 Coaching accreditation and helps out at weekly coaching sessions. Charlie’s manoeuvrability on court, and confidence has skyrocketed. Being so much more comfortable in his chair has also given Charlie more independence as mum Anna now knows she can leave him to tennis on his own as he won’t be in pain whilst taking part.
We often hear from our beneficiaries how important having a correctly fitted tennis chair is to them. We are so glad that we can help so many people to pursue their tennis, spend more time on court and mostly be more comfortable, through our funding. We are also so glad that there are dedicated coaches out there like Andy Bell…. and tennis mad Grans? Yes please!!