Barney Steps Up for Powerchair Football Club

19-year-old smashes personal best in fundraising walking challenge

Barney in training for Powerchair football
Barney in training for Powerchair football

June 3, 2024

19-year-old Barney from Hammersmith is setting a series of new personal bests as he takes on a walking challenge to raise money for his Powerchair Football Club, the Farnham Flames.

His father Chris Lewis says that when Barney caught encephalitis at 9 months old, it was never envisaged that he would be able to walk, talk or even communicate.

However, with the help of therapy and therapists, he continues to progress and now attends college, goes clubbing every fortnight, plays Powerchair football and wants to be a DJ or social media manager when older.

His family describe him as a very happy and engaging young man and he was set the target of walking 50 metres unaided as part of a fundraising drive for the Farnham Flames, of which he is a member. He is seeking to raise £6,500 by walking at least 50 metres unaided three times a week.

Barney is a fulltime wheelchair user with fine and gross motor challenges and presents with low muscle tone and hypermobility – especially in his lower body.

Last year just a few metres were all he could manage but at the beginning of the challenge he achieved 74 metres and this weekend broke through the 100 metre barrier.

He can now make transfers with minimal support, regularly goes on the treadmill in the gym and also uses his walker in the park to help improve his strength and mobility.

An Instagram account - Barney_Steps_Up - has been set up for him to chart his progress, which his family says has turned out to be amazing at keeping him motivated and he is keen to get more followers..

He trains weekly with Farnham Powerchair Football Club however to date they have only one match due to being a new club but also due to having older second-hand chairs. To become more competitive in the league they need modern and faster Powerchairs with better manoeuvrability and greater acceleration.

He has already reached over 90% of his fundraising target and is hopeful that the new chair could be ready in time for next season. If you would like to donate, click here.


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