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Eden King, 14 from Thetford in Norfolk who lives with Muscular Dystrophy, has received a life changing, state-of-the-art F280 Balder Junior powerchair from Etac thanks to donations from Action for Kids, the Joseph Patrick Trust and the Norfolk Free Masons.

Eden is a lively teenager who lives in a specially adapted, highly accessible bungalow with her parents Rod and Catherine King. She has depended upon an electric wheelchair since the age of four as her condition results in muscle weakness and restricted mobility. Over the years Eden’s condition has changed, particularly in terms of postural requirements that led to the need for a more specialist powerchair.

NHS Wheelchair Services were able to support Eden to a certain degree however as her needs became more complex, the King’s Occupational Therapist recommended a more specialist solution – a Balder F290 Junior powerchair from Etac.

The Balder F290 is a cutting-edge electric wheelchair engineered in Scandinavian that is renowned for world-class functionality, comfort and reliability. It gave Eden the ability over several years to move into a variety of positions including standing, which was highly beneficial in terms of physiotherapy and reducing muscle contractures.

Unfortunately in 2009 Eden’s Scoliosis became so pronounced she had to undergo major back surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This involved her spine being straightened with the insertion of metal rods and post-operation, the subsequent need for a Balder powered wheelchair with a specialist seating system. The F280 Junior electric wheelchair needed provides ‘tilt-in-space’ movement so that the owner’s seat can recline whilst the leg, cushion and backrest all retain the same positional relationship.

Ideal for pressure management, this function greatly increases comfort and is coupled with other powered operations such as a seat lift. This allows the user to engage at eye level with able-bodied people when standing – so important for powerchair users on a daily basis. This led to the King’s seeking help with fund raising as the £19,000 cost for the next bespoke powerchair was unreachable without assistance.

Eden’s parents contacted a large number of children’s charities across the UK asking for donations so that a Balder F280 Junior could be purchased. The charity Action for Kids responded to Eden’s parents request within 24 hours and launched an emergency appeal to fund the powerchair. Founded by Sally Bishop OBE in 1991, Action for Kids is a UK based charity that provides mobility equipment, work experience and support for children and young people so they gain greater independence.

Eden’s appeal became one of the most popular online and resulted in donations to the charity from some trusts, companies and individual donors. Part of these funds were then assigned to Eden along with a smaller donation from the Joseph Patrick Trust, a welfare fund within the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. The Norfolk Free Masons also added to this total along with the NHS.

Coupled with some of the King’s savings, Eden was then able to receive the desperately needed Balder wheelchair, which was then fitted with her specialist moulded seat. Eden’s life was instantly transformed as she explains: “I was so happy to have my new chair which helped me be so much more independent. The Etac engineers spent a long time fitting my Balder with special, sensitive control buttons and a mini joystick so I can adjust my position and drive around easily with very little hand movement. I can even now position myself under the school dinner table and eat next to all my friends – it’s great.”

Eden continues: “Since owning my new Balder I have enjoyed so many new experiences. I have been lucky enough to see One Direction in concert at the O2 and meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! My chair allows me to join in more with my friends as we love trying on new clothes and manicuring our nails. My life at school is also so much better now as I can drive around the Thetford Academy campus on my own. Getting a lift from Dad is so easy too as my Balder can travel safely in our converted family car. When I’m at school or out shopping in Norwich, I love showing my chair off as it has a unique, pink leopard skin pattern on the bodywork – it’s so cool and matches my favourite pink shoes.

My family and I are so grateful to Action for Kids, the Joseph Patrick Trust and the Norfolk Free Masons for making my dream a reality. My Balder will now help me achieve more both educationally and socially, plus let me strive towards my ultimate goal of working in the fashion industry.”

Eden’s F280 has unique body moulding graphics as supplied by Wicked Coatings. This personalisation of a Balder powerchair is a popular service provided by Etac as it allows users to own a customised, fun and vibrant design. From a practical point of view, the Etac Tie-Down System is also a high value feature that can be fitted to each Balder powerchair as it provides safe transportation in an accessible vehicle.

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As per Eden’s F280, this solution consists of an anchor point bolted to the vehicle floor, that can securely dock with a mechanism attached to the underside of the Balder powerchair. This delivers a safe, efficient and simple means for a disabled passenger to travel in the car without the need to transfer out of his or her powerchair.