The parents of a disabled child have made a desperate request for help, as their child in a wheelchair is trapped at home without adequate transportation.
Bear Butler parents are raising funds for a specially adapted vehicle and have criticized the lack of government support for families.
The eight-year-old boy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and is unable to walk.
Recently, a GoFundMe page was created to raise € 60,000 to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle so you can get around.
Dad David explained that because Bear’s condition has deteriorated, he can no longer use a manual wheelchair and had to upgrade to an electric one.
He described Bear, who suffered a stroke at birth, and other children like him as “the forgotten children of Ireland.”
David said: “Due to the nature of Bear’s disability, these specialized customized vehicle adaptations for his needs are extremely expensive, but unfortunately there are currently no supports or funding assistance for this.
“We need a specially adapted vehicle to transport it, it doesn’t fit in a normal car.
“We got away with it so far because Bear was in a wheelchair smaller than we could almost fit in the trunk of a normal car.”
The Co Meath man explained that with the new electric chair it is impossible to take it anywhere as it requires specialized ramps and weighs more than 200 kilos.
David from Ashbourne added: “You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, and sadly it’s very frustrating.
“We can’t take him anywhere, we can’t take him to therapy, various hospital appointments, and our closest store is about ten miles away.
“If we wanted to go with him, we can’t bring him. We can’t go visit his grandparents that he hasn’t seen in over a year due to Covid, but even if we wanted to and things open up, we can’t because we can’t transport him in his wheelchair. “
The family lives on the outskirts of Kells, in an isolated rural area, and David said that without the necessary transportation, Bear would be stuck at home.
The father of one said there was a motorized transportation grant to help people with disabilities get around, but unfortunately it was scrapped by the government several years ago.
He added: “There was supposed to be a similar scheme adopted by the Government to replace the subsidy for motorized transport and it has not happened.
“Every time it’s mentioned in the Dail, it really kicks in the way.”
David, who is a full-time caregiver for Bear along with his wife Maria, emphasized that there is little to no support for children with disabilities and that they need all the help they can.
He said they are trying to raise € 60,000 to put the new vehicle on the road and cover their custom adaptations.
David, who described Bear as a fun kid who lights up the room, emphasized that it was out of place for the family to set up the GoFundMe page on April 14, but they felt they had no other choice.
Last night, he said that the appeal had raised almost 5,700 euros, adding: “We are overwhelmed so far, there are people donating every day and we are very grateful.”
David explained that he wrote to Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s office, his local TD, last Thursday, and also to Disability Minister Ann Rabbitte to highlight the case.
- To make a donation, visit uk.gofundme.com/f/help-bear-get-mobile.