Milton Keynes dad who suffered brain damage launches poignant appeal to go on bike rides with his children
Charlie needs to buy a specialist handcycle attachment for his wheelchair
A dad who suffered a devastating brain haemorrhage at the age of 28 has launched a heart-wrenching appeal so he can spend quality time with his children.
Charlie spent months in hospital and, when finally discharged home, realised his injured brain meant drastic changes to his daily life.
Five years on, he spend 85% of his time in a wheelchair and needs four carers a day to help him at his Stacey Bushes home.
"My physical and cognitive ability has been impaired. I was unable to write, I have difficulties with my vision and wear an eye patch to help improve this," he said.
But the most devastating blow was his inability to do all the things he used to love to do with his two children, who are now aged eight and 10.
"The biggest impact since my injury has been on my children. They are my world. Unfortunately due to my physical ailments since my brain injury, I face limits every day of what I am able to do with them," he said.
One of their favourite pastimes was going for bike rides together but this was now impossible.
Then Charlie learned of a special handcycle attachment available for his wheelchair that would turn his chair into a bike. And, most importantly, he would be able to operate it alone and safely.
"It means I could go out with my children without the presence of a carer to transport me around, so I could spend some quality time with my children again."
Charlie attends sessions at Headway, a local charity that helps individuals who have suffered a brain injury. They hold cognitive, communication, exercise and social groups.
"It is at Headway that I take part in cognitive and social groups, and with the help of my friends there, I learned to write again," he said.
But his dream is to go out alone with his children remains unfilled. The necessary wheelchair attachment is not available on the NHS and costs £3,000 to buy - and Charlie simply does not have the money.
Headway brain injury coordinator Keri Whelan told the Citizen: "Since his injury, Charlie had to move home on his own to a mobility friendly bungalow so no longer lives with his children, but his home is covered top to bottom in pictures that his children have drawn for him.
"He has regular visitations with them but Charlie is really looking to participate in the things they enjoy, beginning with family bike rides.
"Recently Charlie has asked for Headway Milton Keynes’ help, and I have been working one-to-one with Charlie to improve his upper body strength and to research into handcycle attachments for his wheelchair. I have managed to set up a Go Fund Me page and it did really well on its initial start up.
"We are currently at £225 which has astounded both Charlie and us here at Headway. The generosity of people has really touched Charlie. I am reaching out, to help spread awareness on brain injury, and to also ask if there is any way possible you are able to help shed light on Charlie’s story so that he can spend quality time with his children."
You can view the fundraising page here.