A MAN has the ability to ‘walk’ again after being given a specialist chair to help.
The motorised wheelchair was given to Tony White by a charity.
This chair has completely changed my life. I can stand now and I haven’t been able to do this.Tony White
Tony, who developed multiple sclerosis 15 years ago, was given the £15,000 Xeno chair by the Geoff Smith Foundation (GSF) after one of its patrons had a chance encounter with the ex-Royal Navy officer.
The 74-year-old’s chair has enabled him to ‘walk’ for the first time in eight years.
Its design means Tony gets the support he needs while standing up from a sitting down position.
The straps and pads help with circulation and protect the user’s joints.
Tony, from Gosport, said he was given the chair after meeting a GSF volunteer in a shop.
He met John Scrivier, who has been involved with GFS since 2007, and began discussing his condition.
When he asked if the shop had any electrical chairs he could buy to put in his house, John went above and beyond his role in the store.
‘I remember talking to him and asking for a chair,’ Tony said. ‘All John said was “right let’s take you to find a proper chair”. He took me down to GMA Mobility Aids in Southampton and showed me this new chair.’
Originally the chair was set to be sold on by GSF, as it had originally been given to a different MS patient, but that person had died.
But after John met Tony, he spoke to the organisation which agreed to donate the chair to him.
‘I remember Tony remarked “it would be great if my wheelchair could do this”,’ John said. ‘Our friendship grew from there and he’s such a nice guy. He never moans or complains. Tony doesn’t wallow in self pity.
‘He’s a wonderful painter and he has donated two of his maritime works to the foundation for auction in May.’
The GFS aims to give MS sufferers a better quality of life. As well as fundraising, it offers MS patients the chance to go visit their villas they own abroad in Spain.
Tony added: ‘I’m so blown away by their kindness.
‘This chair has completely changed my life. I can stand now and I haven’t been able to do this.
‘I’m just so grateful for their help. I can’t believe it.’
For more information on GSF visit thegeoffsmithfoundation.co.uk