2013 started on a sad note when Alan Cole, Adam’s beloved Great Grandfather, passed away on 19th January at the age of 92.
Alan was a committed supporter of the Fund, both privately and through his membership of the Royal Antidiluvian Order of Buffaloes. He is greatly missed by his family and friends. At his funeral, donations in lieu of flowers raised over £600 which was split between Adam's Fund and the charity Riding for the Disabled.
At the beginning of February, Adam and his family temporarily moved out of their bungalow to allow the long-planned alterations to be made to the property.
The work, completed by Truro Building Services, involved extending Adam’s bedroom to allow him to move around it freely in his wheelchairs and also widening the existing doorways to make it easier for Adam to pass through them.
Also, the separate bathroom and toilet were knocked into one wet-room. A height-adjustable bath and sink were installed, allowing Adam independant access to a sink at the property for the first time.
As the plans for the extension called for the existing hallway to become part of Adam's bedroom, we lost our front door, but a new double-doorway was created at the rear of the property, leading to a large, concrete ramp which allows Adam immediate access to the rear garden.
The majority of the work was financed by the award of a Disabled Facilities Grant from Cornwall Council, although the grant was only awarded after extensive and often fraught negotiations with the Council over a two-year period.
Through their hard-work and dedication, Andy and his team of builders from Truro Building Services completed the job on time and within budget and we are very happy with the results.
During the eight weeks it took for the work to be completed, we stayed at Buzzards Cottage on the outskirts of Redruth, a delightful, two-bedroom property available as a holiday let to visitors throughout the year. Fortunately February and March are quiet months visitor-wise and the cottage was available for the full 8 weeks of our enforced absence. Adam dubbed the cottage Dumpy Dog's House, after the large but very friendly dog owned by Mike and Caroline, the cottage's owners. Adam loved exploring the grounds and met some interesting new friends.
We were very pleased to find such a lovely, comfortable and accessible bungalow so close by and at the end of our stay we were surprised and touched to receive a generous donation to the Fund from Mike and Caroline, who could not have been more welcoming or more helpful during our stay.
At the end of February, Adam and his family took a mid-week activity break at the Calvert Trust on Exmoor. The Trust specialises in providing activity holidays for parties that include people with disabilities.
The excellent facilities and wonderful staff meant Adam was able to participate in all the activities. It was a special joy to see him having such fun with his brother, William, as it is rare to find an activity that they can both enjoy together. The pair made a particularly formidable crate-stacking team, as can be seen from the picture below.
Although we were only there for three days, we packed an awful lot in. Adam especially enjoyed horse-riding, an activity he has been very keen to try for some time. He is pictured below on his horse, Teddy.
We also tried archery, abseiling and rock-climbing and at the end of the last day, rode the awesome Calvert Trust zip-wire. Adam enjoyed it so much, he asked if he could take it home. Sadly, there just wasn’t room in our garden!
Update 16th March 2015 – We were shocked and saddened to learn recently that just a few weeks after our Calvert Trust break, our instructor, Barrie Cadd, was killed in a climbing accident in Spain. Barrie, who was 23, was a very friendly and professional instructor who took great care to ensure that Adam was fully included in all our activities.
He has been remembered at the Calvert Trust by the creation of an outdoor classroom dubbed “Barrie’s Shack”.
Unfortunately, Adam's Scoliosis has rapidly worsened, as can be seen from the pictures below which show him both with and without the supportive Lycra suit he wears during the day.
It now seems highly likely that he will require surgery on his back, although this will not be until May 2014 at the earliest. In the meantime, we are trying to provide him with items which will give him as much support (see below). Of course, such items are expensive which is why we are very grateful for each and every donation to the Adam George Fund.
Update 16th March 2015 - Adam's spinal surgery finally took place in November 2014. See our 2014 News Archive for full details.
In July, Adam took to the sky with Aerobility, a charity that offers the disabled a chance to fly an aeroplane. Aerobility was founded in 1993 and offers all disabled people, without exception, the chance to fly. It is run largely by disabled aviators. CEO Mike Miller-Smith MBE is a full time wheelchair user with Muscular Dystrophy, but continues to drive and fly himself and is passionate about offering disabled people the opportunity to experience piloting, believing it is a very positive experience.
Taking off from RNAS Culdrose on a fine, sunny day, Adam took control of the plane over Land’s End and spent a glorious time banking, climbing and diving (all under the watchful eye of the pilot, of course).
Adam certainly had a wonderful time and we would recommend Aerobility to any disabled person. For more details, see their website, www.aerobility.com.
In October, Adam took delivery of his new wheelchair, the Sorg Kika, from Fred Storey Ltd in Northern Ireland. The Kika perfectly meets Adam’s twin needs, being both light enough to be easy to self-propel, yet supportive enough to ensure he is sitting comfortably and securely. The chair is bright orange and, as a personal touch, the spoke guards bear pictures of the Power Rangers, one of Adam’s favourite TV shows.
Unfortunately, while we were flying out for a family holiday in October, the Kika was significantly damaged in transit. The airline accepted responsibility for the damage and fully funded a replacement chair which arrived two days before Christmas. It was identical to the first Kika but for a different Power Rangers design on the spoke guards.
Adam loves his Power Rangers chair, as he calls it, which we could not have purchased without the generous support of all those people who have donated to Adam’s Fund.
Our other major purchase at the end of 2013, again only possible thanks to generous donations to the Fund, was a highly supportive car seat for Adam. Because of his condition, Adam finds regular car seats uncomfortable and they also do not give him the full support that he requires. After some research, we identified the Zitzi Delfi Pro from Consolor Ltd as the most suitable chair for Adam.
Following measurements and fittings, the seat was delivered in the Autumn of 2013. Adam is now much more comfortable in the chair, which is a relief for everyone, given that he often has to undertake long journeys such as to the Brainwave Clinic in Bridgwater or to hospitals in Bristol or beyond.