If you ever leave something behind after taking a trip, more often than not you can easily have it sent back to you. However for one father, Stefan, faced with the pandemic, travel restrictions, and unhelpful customer services obstructing the return of a specially adapted wheelchair, he felt like he was running out of options. Fortunately, one of his friends was able to recommend a solution.
Having used InXpress for four years, Chris suggested Stefan should contact Alex Petrides, at InXpress Birmingham South. It wasn’t long before Alex received a call which would inspire him. “Stefan’s daughter is severely disabled and in a wheelchair,” Alex says. “He’d had a specially adapted race chair made so she could race with him. She loved being out in it, feeling alive whenever her dad ran with her in it. They often raced together, raising money for other severely disabled children. Pre-covid, they’d completed a race in Norway, but had inadvertently left the chair behind. Stefan was having problems, as the airline refused to take it unless he accompanyed it back.
“Within a week,” Alex continues, “we had the chair back with Stefan and his daughter! He called me, elated, because they didn’t think they ‘d ever see it again!”
Alex and Stefan liaised closely with the hotel in Norway to make sure the chair was packaged-up properly ready for its journey home. “There are components which needed to be strapped down, but not too tightly or the chair would be rendered useless. It was crucial the shipment was handled was absolute care, so Stefan’s daughter can enjoy racing with her dad, again,” Alex says. “However it meant even more to them, because, knowing how alive and free his daughter feels when she’s out with him, Stefan takes other severely children out for runs in it.”
It’s such a simple thing most of us take for granted: the freedom to feel the wind in our faces as we go out for a walk or a run. So, when Alex heard how alive these children felt when they’re out in Stefan’s daughter’s specially adapted chair, he wanted to do more. “I reached out to the InXpress Gives Back Committee about whether we could pay for another chair. I wanted to see if we could enable more children to experience this simple pleasure for themselves.”
InXpress Gives Back didn’t hesitate and a new chair is currently being built in Canada. For Alex, this was a proud moment, and he can’t wait until they can present the new chair to Stefan. “I have two young girls so Stefan’s story really tugged on my heart, causing me think about what I would do in his situation. It feels like a small thing, but to be able to provide them with a new race chair, knowing it will make a difference to children who need it most… there are no words.”