A Larne paralympian who competed in the Rio games is fundraising for a state-of-the-art wheelchair to help her cope with her disability.
22-year-old Claire Taggart, who travelled to South America as a member of Team GB’s 2016 Boccia Squad, suffers from muscle condition dystonia.
The illness means that the athlete’s current wheelchair, which has been specially adapted for sport, becomes uncomfortable when used for extended periods.
Claire is now hoping to raise £7000 for a state-of-the art Quantum Q6 Edge “everyday wheelchair” to improve her comfort and quality of life.
The new chair will able to tilt back to 50 degrees, enabling Claire to stretch her muscles, and will allow her to raise the seat up to eye level.
Her mum Maggie explained: “A major part of Claire’s condition is that her muscles get very stiff and she needs to stretch.
“She has constant physio but sitting in a sports-specific wheelchair gets very uncomfortable.
“The new chair will be able to tilt and rise up like a recliner and even if she’s in the car she will be in a much more relaxed position.
“Also, at the moment people have to bend down to talk to her but the new chair will help her rise up to eye level so she will feel more a part of things and be able to reach things. Her dystonia has taken a down turn, particularly in her arms, and she needs this chair to be more comfortable.”
Despite her condition, Claire is determined to live life to the full, and she and her proud mum have just returned from a boccia training camp in Edinburgh.
“The boccia training is going brilliantly, we were in Edinburgh for some full-on training and Claire has her sights firmly set on competing in Tokyo 2020,” Maggie continued.
“I don’t think words can describe how proud I am and how overwhelmed I am by how she has coped with everything.”
To donate, visit the ‘Claire needs a chair’ page on www.gofundme.com.