A YOUNG boy with cerebral palsy is now able to play with his school friends after he got his first set of wheels.
Alfie Porter-Smith, aged 4, from Dinas Powys has just received a wheelchair called Wizzybug.
Alfie has a rare form of cerebral palsy and is barely able to walk unaided.
A lack of strength in his right hand means that he struggles to use a manual wheelchair to power himself along.
Born prematurely at 35 weeks, his parents Fiona Porter-Smith, 46 and Rod Smith, 60, knew something was wrong as early as three months because of his poor head control.
He was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy at nine months old.
The family were frustrated at the lack of ongoing services and therapies on offer from the NHS for their little boy as he developed at a slower pace to others his age.
But they found out about the charity Designability which esearches and develops assistive technology to transform the lives of people living with a disability.
They offered Alfie a way to move around on his own easily for the first time in his life.
Mrs Porter-Smith said: "What Alfie really wanted to be able to do was run around with his friends and keep up with their fun and games.
"We found out about Designability’s Wizzybug Loan Scheme when a friend of a friend shared the information over Facebook.
"One of the ways we knew Wizzybug would make a difference to Alfie’s life was at school.
"Before Wizzy, he had no independence and felt as though he was missing out.
"On the first day he took it to school, I stood waiting for him to come out at the end of the day.
"When I saw him appear in his Wizzybug, with children walking beside him, I cried my eyes out.
"He had transformed into the most popular kid in school overnight,"
When at school, Alfie can now move from classroom to classroom freely in his Wizzybug and helps him feel included.
Mrs Porter-Smith added: "Wizzybug is so child-friendly and has filled a gap that the NHS in our area were not able to.
"It really does come everywhere with us – to the cinema, the seaside, the zoo and breaks away.
"Alfie also likes to take it to church every week.
"We feel so passionately about Wizzybugs that I want to spread the word as much as I can with local parents whose children might benefit from one.
"As Alfie gets older, I just know that this start in Wizzybug will have been so important to him.
"He absolutely loves it and the rest of the family love it, too."
Wizzybugs are available for free to children aged 14 months – 5 years who have a disability through donations
For more information, visit www.wizzybug.org.uk or call 01225 824103.