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Paralympian champion Michael McKillop hands out medals at Kidz South in Reading with Leckey

10th June 2011

Michael McKillop and the team from Leckey had a busy day in Reading yesterday at the Kidz South exhibition organised by Disabled Living, with Michael giving out medals to the children he met.

Paralympian champion Michael McKillop hands out medals at Kidz South in Reading with Leckey

The Leckey stand mainly featured the seating range. Leckey has seating products suitable for children all the way through school and into adulthood, and so we wanted to give therapists and parents the chance to see these products, not only on the indoor hi-low bases that are popular in schools, but also on the Invacare mobility bases. The Kit Seating System was shown on the very popular Invacare XTR and the Mygo Seating System on the Rea Azalea. In addition to the seating systems, Leckey also showed the Pal Classroom Seat, the ever popular Early Activity System, the Squiggles Stander and the Kidwalk.

As at previous shows, children were able to try the products, and the Kidwalk was especially popular.  The stand was very busy and there seemed to be parents, children and therapists round all the products all the time.
And then there was the buzz created by having Michael McKillop on the stand! Michael McKillop won the T37 800m gold medal in the Beijing Paralympics, he holds the 800m and 1500m world records and is tipped to win gold in the London Paralympics in 2012. He has mild hemiplegic cerebral palsy on his right side and didn’t walk or talk until he was 3 years old. Leckey are now sponsoring him and this was the first event he attended with us. He was a natural! He was excellent when talking to the children about what sports they liked and about winning his medal, and inspirational when talking to the parents about his childhood and what his parents had done for him. At times, there was a queue of children waiting to meet him and get a medal from him. Feedback from parents was very positive. The word “inspirational” was used over and over, with parents not only paying tribute to Michael but also to his parents. Afterwards one lady told me that her daughter’s cerebral palsy is very like Michael’s so she was really interested in talking to him about therapies he went through as a child as her daughter is now going through the same. Another mother told me that, having met Michael, she felt vindicated in trying, as far as is possible, to treat her son as any other child. A therapist was overheard taking the chance to ask him what it is like for someone with cerebral palsy to attend a mainstream school, something she probably can’t ask the children in her care, as they are too young to have the perspective Michael does.

Altogether it was a great show and  Michael and the Leckey team are now looking forward to Kidz up North in Bolton in November.