Wheelchair gift of freedom for teen

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Customers and staff at Leeds-based Cashino Cross Gates have presented 13-year-old Finnan O’Dwyer with a new powered wheelchair to give him more independence.

Cashino is one of the main fundraisers for CHIPS, a charity set up on behalf of the casino and gaming industry, which provides specialised wheelchairs for children with severe mobility problems.

Finnan, who lives in Leeds with his parents, Jane and John, and two older brothers, suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2, A genetic neuromuscular disorder that affects the nerve cells controlling voluntary muscles.

Finnan’s mum, Jane, said: “Due to his condition, Finnan has never been able to walk.

“He is, however, such a sociable, bright boy and is so desperate to be more independent, and this new, powered wheelchair from CHIPS and Cashino will allow him to do just that. He’s very excited to be able to ‘walk’ home with his friends rather than us coming and collecting him.”

Cashino Cross Gates venue manager, Jason Price, said: “It’s such a proud moment to know that our fundraising efforts are going to make such a huge difference to Finnan and his family’s life.

“He’s such a lovely, friendly and intelligent boy who thoroughly deserves this wheelchair.”

Co-founder of the CHIPS charity Linda Lindsay said: “It is so important for CHIPS that our donors see the results of their hard work, and we try to ensure that all the recipients are local to where the funds have been raised.”

Image 1: Finnan O’Dwyer

Image 2: Finnan with (L-R) three members of the Cashino team, his mum Jane, CHIPS’ Linda Lindsay and area manager Nigel Wiseman