Red Goes Faster

Brightly coloured and built for fun, 20 ‘Wizzybug’ wheelchairs will be opening up a new world of mobility for a bunch of young, smiling faces.

When six-year-old Daniel arrived at Box Magazine headquarters in October last year, he was excited and nervous with anticipation. Amongst the spotless shine of showroom Ferraris was a bright red vehicle of a different kind – a brand new Wizzybug that Daniel took for a test drive.

It was a momentous occasion for Daniel, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at just six months old. While other children were learning to walk, Daniel was struggling to gain control of his limbs. Normal activities such as running, jumping, and playing with friends are things that Daniel has never been able to enjoy independently.

"Kids constantly miss out on opportunities because the parent, teacher or carer isn't able to help the child 24/7," explains Scott from the Centre for Cerebral Palsy. Like other children affected by the condition, Daniel often has to sit on the sidelines and look on as his siblings and friends play.

But all this has changed thanks to the Wizzybug. Much more than a regular wheelchair, the Wizzybug is designed especially for toddlers and young children who cannot get around independently. Modelled to look like a toy, they are much less intimidating than a large, bulky wheelchair.

With the proceeds raised at the 2013 Royal Queensbury Championship boxing event, ToyBox International has been able to provide Wizzybugs for 20 children who need them most. The fact that it looks more like the Wiggles’ Big Red Car or Lightning McQueen from the Cars movies means that kids take to the Wizzybugs quickly and easily.

As one of the eager recipients, Daniel was determined to master his new ride and overcome the mobility challenges that had restricted him so much. "For the first time ever, Daniel is able to interact with his family and friends as he never has before," says his mum Katie. "He goes off exploring and can keep up with his siblings when they ride bikes either at home or at the local park. He even participated in the school cross-country event in his Wizzybug!"

Using the Wizzybug has given Daniel a big confidence boost, allowing him to really engage with the world around him, and Katie couldn't be more proud. "He continues to amaze us with his determination, bravery and patience," she says. "We won't set any limits for Daniel, who knows what the future holds."

Troy Barbagallo