A quadriplegic teen from Lincoln who has been raising money so that he can stand again will see his dreams come true after a single donation of £32,000 from a generous Yorkshire benefactor.
Before a life-changing hip operation three years ago Owen could walk short distances, but since the surgery he has been wheelchair-bound.
His dream was to raise enough money for a high-tech wheelchair which would take him from A to B in a standing position, and go a long way towards giving him back his independence.
Taking to the internet, his appeal eventually reached businesswoman Lesley Jackson from Bridlington, who was so touched by his story she decided to pledge the full £32,000 for his state-of-the-art F5 Corpus VS chair.
The incredible donation was kept a secret for almost an entire day until, on returning home from school on October 23, Owen was greeted by his mum Sarah and reporters from The Lincolnite with the exciting news.
The chair costs £24,000. With insurance and extended warranty, the £32,000 sum would cover him for the first few years.
Lesley Jackson told The Lincolnite: “When I saw Owen’s appeal I thought ‘what a great kid’. He is intellectual, bright, a chatterbox and he explained his situation very well.
“I thought it was such a shame that in this day in age, with this county’s wealth, there are people that cannot have the equipment that fits their needs.
“He is sitting his A-levels too. I knew straight away I wanted to help.
“When I first called the family Owen’s mum was very tearful, and it made me tearful too. I am so glad I made the phone call, It’s a very nice feeling.”
Owen certainly deserves his standing ovation, as does his family carers like mum Sarah Dennington, who also works full time in the NHS.
Sarah said: “So much time has gone into sorting everything with the fundraising. I went to bed at 1am this morning and got up at 5.30am. I still can’t believe we are where we are now.
“I can’t thank Lesley enough.”
Manufacturers of the chair will visit Owen in a week’s time and he hopes he will get to meet Lesley in person.
If all goes well, he should have his wish by Christmas.
Owen describes himself as “bright, funny and charismatic”, and says that he wants to go to university and help others like him achieve their life goals.
As a board member of Whizz Kidz, a charity based in London which helps disabled children access wheelchair skills, he hopes to raise awareness and plenty more money.
He added: “My friend Lewis Brooks also deserves a mention becuse he raised around £200 at his school by organising events. I need to thank him.”
Online donations taken through Owen’s campaign website ‘Stand up for Owen’ totalled almost £1,000, and the money will go towards maintenance of the chair, which costs over £1000 a year to keep in shape.