A wheely great day

Ten year old Leah Garfitt pictured in her new wheelchair at JJ Mobility, Lord Street, Fleetwood, with from left, John Clarke and Julie McLean (owners, JJ Mobility) and Phil Needham (UK manager-Meyra Ortopedia).
Ten year old Leah Garfitt pictured in her new wheelchair at JJ Mobility, Lord Street, Fleetwood, with from left, John Clarke and Julie McLean (owners, JJ Mobility) and Phil Needham (UK manager-Meyra Ortopedia).
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IT will be a week to remember for battling youngster Leah Garfitt – who is fighting one of the world’s rarest diseases.

The nine-year-old has been to collect her new £1,500 wheelchair and will have breakfast with chart-topping boyband JLS tomorrow.

Leah, of Waverley Avenue, Fleetwood, suffers from Niemann-Pick disease, a neuro-degenerative disorder which causes dementia. There are only around 500 sufferers in the world.

She received the chair after John Clarke and Julie McLean, of JJ Mobility in Fleetwood, told her story to Phil Needham the UK manager of Meyra Ortopedia, a German company which makes the specialist equipment.

The shop and the company has shared the cost of the new chair between them.

Mr Needham was particularly interested because he lost his son Matthew to a heart condition at the age of nine and has subsequently formed his own charity, Matthew Needham’s Treasure Chest, to help other children.

The chair will give assist Leah, who has been struggling with an inadequate model.

Mum Lindsay Patterson said: “This chair is really important.

“It’s going to give Leah a lot more comfort and it will support her a lot better.

“We would have struggled to buy something like this, we would have had to get some fund-raising going.”

Mr Clarke added: “Leah lives in Fleetwood so we felt we’d like to help because her mum has been struggling for a while with their chair.”

The new chair is light and can also be adjusted in a number of ways for the comfort of the user.

And it will be a dream come true for Leah on when she breakfasts with JLS, a meeting arranged by the charity Rays of Sunshine which makes youngsters’ dreams come true.

They were approached by Brian House and Rock FM.

Mrs Patterson: “Leah is a big fan and it’s very exciting for her.”