Romano gets a new wheelchair

CasualDay_wheelchairImagine experiencing the joy of comfortable mobility for the first time in your life? Imagine being a person with severe cerebral palsy and being able to say goodbye to old broken chair held together by string? Romano Marthinus no longer needs to use his imagination: he has received a special wheelchair customised to support him.

Romano’s plight was first highlighted by Brunhild Strauss, an officer of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA (NCPPDSA) in the Northern Cape. Romano is a young man from O’Kiep with severe cerebral palsy fixed deformities. He was living at home being cared for by his mother, Joan. Her death was a huge blow to him as he was now required to become more independent.

Strauss took up his case and put in a request to the National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy (NAPCP), a national beneficiary of Casual Day funding, for a new wheelchair for Romano. Professor Faith Bischof, chairman of NAPCP and a physiotherapist, immediately went to work, consulting with wheelchair specialist, Chairman Industries, and getting input from therapists about making a difference to Romano’s life.

Says Prof Bischof: “I requested that physios in Springbok take his measurements. Together with the director of Chairman Industries and the therapists, we custom-built chair and provided accessories for the chair to enable him to sit comfortably. The chair was duly made, couriered to O’Kiep and presented to Romano and his caregivers, Ronald and Rosaline Carroll, relatives who have now taken over responsibility for him. This chair is making a big difference in his life as he can now sit comfortably and be conveniently transported.”

Prof Bischof has many years of experience with individualising cerebral palsy seating. She has also been doing cerebral palsy research for 40 years and is a Visiting Professor at Wits and a research mentor in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department at Wits Medical School. “It is important to note that wheelchairs are not a one-size-fits-all piece of equipment. They are bespoke and require the input of many specialists to design the optimal seating solution.

“This wheelchair and many that we provide are made possible by the funds that we receive from Casual Day.”

Left: Rosaline Carroll and Romano Marthinus

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Hi, I’m Able the Casual Day mascot and ambassador for disability. I encourage you to see the ABILITY in people and not the dis-ABILITY. We’re all able, we can all live our fullest lives if the barriers are removed. Join me each year, on the first Friday of September and raise funds to support organisations that render services in the field of disability. This year Casual Day falls on Friday, 7 September. Your donation of R10 for a sticker makes a difference and improves lives all across South Africa.

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