A cancer survivor has been presented with a brand new wheelchair to help her progress in wheelchair basketball thanks to a grant.
Fiona Carey, 54, from Cockayne Hatley, received the new equipment thanks to WheelPower, the national charity of wheelchair sport, and help from local Rotary clubs.
Fiona said thank you in front of a room full of fundraisers at Hatfield Old Palace during an event that raised around £30,000.
Fiona, who makes a 100-mile round trip every week to train for her team the Bury Bombers, was provided with the custom-made sports wheelchair to enable her to continue living a healthy and active life following extensive cancer treatment.
After difficult and life-changing surgery in 2011 for metastatic renal cancer, Fiona found her mobility vastly reduced, and she became a wheelchair user at the age of 50.
Sport had always been a big part of her life (football, tennis, badminton, squash – you name it she played it).
But, with permanent fatigue and nutrition problems, she thought her sporting days were behind her until, during the London 2012 Paralympics, she wandered into a wheelchair basketball match.
She said: “It seems such a cliché, looking back, but sitting there in the Copper Box, it dawned on me that this was something I could do! I came home, found a club, and started playing. It’s really hard, managing fatigue and recovery, but I love it!”
Fiona had been using a borrowed sports wheelchair which has had about 10 years of extensive use, and had been struggling to find the £3,000 she would need to buy her own wheelchair.
Along with some local support, Fiona was awarded a grant from the Stoke Mandeville-based charity WheelPower, which runs an equipment fund called the Wheel Appeal.
The money raised for Fiona was part of a £30,000 fund raised by a long-term supporter of the charity and a bowel cancer survivor himself Rod Jones.
Chief Executive of WheelPower Martin McElhatton said: “We are delighted to award Fiona with her very own sports wheelchair to play basketball.
“Sports wheelchairs costs on average £3,000 which is why WheelPower set up the Wheel Appeal, to help remove the financial barrier for disabled people accessing sport.
“It is with great delight that we have seen Rod bounce back from such a serious illness in a way that is so positive and beneficial for Fiona and for these three charities that mean so much to him.”