It was a grey and gloomy day in August as I set off for our Broadsands Beach Activity. I met up with a colleague and we collected one of our young people we were taking with us. The Sun shone on us as we arrived although we could see torrential rain sweeping across the bay less than two miles away. Soon foster parents and their young people began to arrive and before long there were sand castles being built and a small group splashing and swimming in the shallow water.
One of the foster parents pointed out some new arrivals and in the distance tracking along the beach were two of our foster parents with their foster child A. A is 14 but confined to a wheelchair as he has a progressive muscular condition which means he cannot walk. But A does not allow himself to be confined by his physical limitations and lives life to the full. Today was an incredibly important day for A.
One of his dreams had been to go on a real beach and today that dream was fulfilled. His amazing foster parents had saved up and purchased an all terrain motorised wheelchair and it was on this that A was tracking across the beach. The sheer joy and excitement of A showered upon all of us and we sat watching him do doughnuts in the sand with his ‘new set of wheels’ then disappearing down the beach with his foster parents to race along the tide line splashing through the tiny lapping waves conquering small rocks and pebbles. It made me appreciate even more everything that I have and also that freedom is not always physical but freeing the spirit to follow it’s dreams is just a great a power.
A returned and proudly told us about his other wheelchairs including the one he uses for football. A also goes climbing with special harnesses and was soon due to go off to Disney Land Paris. A is an amazing young man in his own right but it is the selfless dedication of his foster parents who have supported nurtured and encouraged A that has enabled him to access a full and exciting life. A may have more limited options but he is packing into his young life more than many will experience in their whole life.
Dream fulfilled A trundled back off down the beach sand encrusted wheels and green seaweed hanging from the underneath his spirit soaring with the seagulls and the shouts of fun and joy from the children in the sea. We all felt deeply touched by A’s emotional joy at being on the beach and the images of that day will stay long after the tyre tracks on the sand have been gently washed away by the waves on the incoming tide.