Zak’s back to his best thanks to ‘Spiderman’ outdoor Recare wheelchair

Zak Milican-Lee, 5, from Cricklade near Swindon, is back thriving in the fresh air through a unique customised and personalised Recare wheelchair that helps with his cerebral palsy.

Zak is a typical young boy. He loves sport especially golf, football and basketball. These activities are challenging for Zak as he cannot play to the level of his peers, however this never stops him from competing. “He’s an outdoors kid, whatever the weather“ says his mum Tasha, “he’d be outdoors all the time if he could and always wants to be on the go.” As a cerebral palsy quadriplegic, Zak can walk short distances however he experiences fatigue and balance issues over longer periods so can be prone to falls. For these times he needs a wheelchair, which was initially provided by the NHS but did not prove practical for him or his mum Tasha. It became difficult to go out with Tasha struggling to push Zak and her son not being comfortable or being able to propel himself. They needed a solution fast, so their Occupational Therapist recommended Recare.

With headquarters and an equipment clinic in Oxfordshire, Recare is a family-run specialist healthcare and rehabilitation product provider. Its team regularly works with healthcare professionals, adults and children with disabilities so they can access the best manual and powered wheelchairs for independence and mobility. Tasha explains:

“We went to Recare for an assessment in August and gosh what a difference there was going to see a product specialist. Richard the owner immediately spotted what was wrong with Zak’s wheelchair and started to suggest possible alternatives. The main issue was I couldn’t walk behind to push it. As Zak only needs a small wheelchair, the gap between the push handles was too narrow and the anti-tippers got in the way of my feet. I was having to walk by the side of Zak so straining my arm and shoulder when pushing. Going along country tracks near our house and getting to school was becoming really awkward and unpleasant.”

“Recare were so good. I was so relieved. I worried I might have been whinging for no reason and that I was just getting used to Zak being in a wheelchair. It wasn’t at all. Richard pointed out all the things that could be improved such as having no armrests, so Zak could learn to propel himself, and handlebars and tippers that didn’t get in the way of me walking behind.  Everything makes much more sense since Recare have explained it to me.”

“Being given options gave us both comfort. We knew this choice meant Zak would get the best wheelchair for him. He could choose colours and Recare have gone above and beyond with his Spiderman graphics on the spoke guards which make Zak so comfortable using it. That’s the game changer for Zak, he loves it. We were nervous about how he was going to be about a wheelchair as he’s the only child at school with a disability. But guess what, he gets kids who are non-wheelchair users coming up to him and saying, ‘Can I have a go in your cool wheelchair?’. That makes him feel good.”

Recare and the Milican-Lee’s OT prescribed a Ki Mobility Clik wheelchair with custom spoke guards and a detachable Rehasense Dual Arm Trackwheel. This fifth wheel ensures Zak and his mum can tackle offroad paths and uneven surfaces easier and over longer distances. 

As Tasha begins to wrap up their story, she explains why being able to get outdoors without hassle is critical:

“Zak’s currently being assessed for autism which is affected by his CP so he’s quite sensory seeking. This means the outdoors is a very calming place for him to be. The wheelchair gives him the ability to get out and fulfils the independence he craves. ‘I can go super-fast and look at what I can do!’ he says to me – the difference the chair has made is incredible. He’s only five but understands he has cerebral palsy and is not embarrassed to tell people. He’s got no issues with using his wheelchair as he’ll typically walk some of the way to school and then gets in with no hesitation. 

Tasha adds:

“He’s beginning to practice pushing himself and when we get to hills, I don’t end up with back ache from pushing at an awkward angle or bent over. This wheelchair has been a game changer for me too and so we both now look forward to more days out looking at animals and playing together on our favourite beaches at Barry Island and Weston-Super-Mare.”