Happy New Year from Sam!
Can we say a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped Sam over the three years that stuff4sam has been going. Reaching the unbelievable milestone of £30,000 is an incredible achievement by everyone involved. I want everyone to know that every single penny of that money has gone to buy equipment for Sam that directly benefits him. You have given Sam a chance to explore, to learn, to exercise and to live freely – which would have been impossible without the tools you have given him.
These are just a few of the massive thank you’s we have to mention:
For those of you who raised money for the Kimba chair: this was Sam’s first chair out of hospital and has withstood so many adventures; racing along canal pathways with his friends standing on the front, bumping along muddy fields on Exmoor and flying all the way to Japan! It has been Sam’s workhorse and we cannot believe it has never broken down!
For everyone who raised money for Sam’s FES bicycle: this one piece of equipment has quite simply been the single most important factor in keeping Sam healthy. Every other day Sam rides 4 miles, exercising his heart, his muscles, his circulation, his bone development, everything a mobile person would benefit from and more. We cannot overstate how important this has been and will ensure Sam grows healthy and strong.
For everyone who raised money for Sam’s arm supports: thank you for letting Sam see himself move his arms. The supports ‘float’ on springs and exaggerates any movement. By moving Sam’s neck muscles, he can raise his shoulders a little which in turn move his arms. This is enough to paint a picture, put his hand in dough to make bread and to stroke Cosmos our dog. If we didn’t have this, Sam would never see his own movement, now he can see what an amzingly strong little chap he is!
For my friends that raised money for the walking machine: Sam can walk, run or jump on this treadmill, with a little help from four people around him supporting him! It is truely wonderful to see Sams face look at himself in the mirror with his little eyse saying ‘look what I can do’! It is hard to believe that he is totally paralysed below the neck when you see him walking there, he looks like he should just walk of the treadmill all by himself!
For those that enabled us to get the Kimba Cross off-road buggy: everywhere the other wheelchair couldn’t go, this one could! By taking off the seat of one wheelchair, we could put it on kimba cross wherever we went. It has taken us on beaches in cornwall, rockpooling in Devon, through streams in Somerset, herding sheep on our friends farm, surviving flash floods in summer and cycling along country lanes in search of tractors! This has given Sam the freedom to think, that nothing will stop him. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to see Sam stop at a beach because his chair would not be able to go down to the sea where all the other children are playing. Now he can go down there with ease and splash through the waves as fast as Dad can push him! There have been many punctures and there will be many more!
For everyone that has helped buy Sam’s computer mouse which is our most recent purchase: I was thrilled for Sam when this arrived because he doesn’t know it yet but this will transform his life. We have spent two years searching for something for Sam so he can use a computer as easily as everyone else, not limiting him because he is such a clever little boy. Within hours of getting this Sam was using a joystick with his mouth to trace the letters of his name and even using both mouth joysticks to play a piano on his computer. I really mean it when I feel that this will revolutionise his life, for him to write, paint, play, explore everything a computer has to offer and only now is this whole new world opening up to him as he starts school. The sky is not the limit any more!
And finally to a very kind team at Lego, who thanks to this website saw that Sam was a child who needed something a bit different to enable him to play. They very kindly donated a little robot that Sam can control via arrows on the computer to make the robot move anywhere he wants. At the moment Sam is enjoying moving (and bumping!) it everywhere, but has the potential to grow with him and be an absolutely amazing tool for play, education and invention. Thank you to them for letting Sam just play.
You have given these tools to Sam. What can I say? I am a dad who just wants to see my son grow healthy and happy. You have given us as a family a chance to see our son grow, despite the accident, into the same person he would always have been. Without these tools, he would not be as healthy, as happy or the same boy. You have given him the opportunity, and for that I will always be thankful.
With the money we have now, we are in the process of making our last purchase to buy an FES machine for Sam’s upper body. From the same company and fitting onto the same bike as the FES bike, it will give him all the benefits for his upper body, so we can see his little muscles on his arms grow stronger and his spasms there will reduce. Sam has now grown enough to use it, so he will soon be the fittist one among us… and you never know how this will benefit the strength in his shoulders.
We feel it is a good time, and a good milestone to give people a rest from all the fundraising, the organisation and effort they have put in for Sam. Even though many people have never met Sam, you have taken him to your hearts and I will always make sure he knows that there are people in this who have given everything and asked for nothing.
We can now prove to the authorties and bodies that the equipment we have bought by fundraising are an essential part of Sam’s life, and by proving this, it will make it easier to maintain and supply this equipment throughout Sam’s life, so we do not have to keep fundraising for many years to come.
But stuff4sam will continue. Rather than fundraising it will be used to give updates about Sam and to connect Sam’s community around the world. Keep sending your hi sam messages and adding your comments. We do so love to see them and to know that you are thinking about Sam.
To the future! Spinal Research
Spinal Research is a charity that is in desperate need for funds, but could transform the life of Sam and hundreds of thousands of people like Sam.
As a family we live life now, but I wait for the day that Sam does not have to go through the medical proceedures he has to go through everyday to keep him alive. I wait for the day that I hear that there has been a breakthrough.
They are so close to a cure for Spinal Cord Injury that in just a few years, it could be us that helped the scientists and doctors achieve what a just two decades ago was thought to be impossible. It could be a complete repair to the spinal cord allowing people like Sam to breathe again, to walk and to touch and to feel.
If you can help Spinal Research in any way, with all the energy and enthusiasm that you have shown in such an amazing way, it would help Sam in a new direction, giving new hope and a completely different life.
After everything the accident has taken away from him, his breathing, his movement, his exploration, his independence, you have given him the greatest freedom. Sam loves his life and he is simply the happiest boy in the world. You are the ones that have made this possible.
Our warmest thanks to you all, we will always be truely grateful for what you have done for us.
Neil, Kazumi and Sam