Roxy Anderson experiencing the water at Castlepoint Beach in her new all-terrain wheelchair. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ELISA VORSTER

elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

Like many other eight year olds, Roxy Anderson’s favourite things include cheetahs and playing with her My Little Pony toys, but most of all she loves getting outdoors and playing in the water.

This was all but impossible until last month when her dreams were finally realised through the gift of an all-terrain wheelchair from Make a Wish foundation.

Roxy was born with a physical disability called multiple pterygium syndrome, or Escobar syndrome, which caused webbing on her muscles and joint contractures, and all her joints are stuck.

She could get around quite well by herself with the aid of her walking frame and had an electric wheelchair for travelling longer distances, however, it was not designed for any type of rugged terrain which meant Roxy was unable to experience the outdoors like other kids her age.

Her mother, Nikki Anderson, said it was Roxy’s wish to get an all-terrain wheelchair because her favourite place to be was in the water.

“In the past, we’ve had an old pushchair which we would take down to the beach, but she is getting a bit big for it and it doesn’t tackle the tough sand.”

Roxy had seen similar all-terrain wheelchairs when she had previously participated in water sports with Halberg Disabilities sport foundation.

She did some research, found the right wheelchair for her and applied to the Make a Wish foundation.

The wheelchair wasn’t cheap which meant she had to wait a while, but Make a Wish came through for Roxy and delivered the wheelchair to her just in time for summer.

“It was good timing” her mother said.

The wheelchair was delivered by Jenny Ewen on behalf of Make a Wish. She was delighted Roxy would now be able enjoy many activities which were beyond her reach before.

“She researched to find the chair best for her needs and came up with the Hippocampe wheelchair.

This chair can go anywhere, from tracks in the bush to rivers, on the sand, in the water and on snow.”

Although they had only had the wheelchair for a week, Ms Anderson said they had already taken it out for a spin.

“We took it to Castlepoint beach on New Year’s Day and went on the sand and in the water” Ms Anderson said.

She said the new wheelchair meant they could go to all the places in Wairarapa people usually frequent this time of year, such as the river and Mt Holdsworth.

“It basically means we can go anywhere now.”