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Community / ‘Breaking down barriers’ in support of Ability Shetland

Brynn Hauxwell.

A MID YELL teenager is about to complete the first 500 miles of a gruelling fundraising challenge in which he aims to push himself in his wheelchair a distance of 1,679 miles, the equivalent of the length of Shetland’s rugged coastline.

Brynn Hauxwell is raising funds for Ability Shetland as a way of saying thank you to the local charity for their support he and his family have received over the years.

The 15 year old is diagnosed with autism, ADHD, severe asthma and also suffers from fixed ankle contractures which means he relies on a wheelchair to get around.

When a family walking holiday along Hadrian’s Wall was made impossible due to coronavirus, Brynn decided he needed an alternative to keep him going during lockdown.

“This year I was already planning a completely different challenge to help raise funds for Ability Shetland, but with everything that is going on in the world right now I am needing to rethink about how I can challenge myself and fundraise whilst self isolating,” he said.

Brynn is no stranger to breaking down barriers. Last year, he raised thousands of pounds so that he could buy an all-terrain wheelchair to help him increase his mobility.

His new wheelchair allows him to discover the great outdoors and plays a major part in helping him to regain his freedom. For the fundraising challenge he also uses one of Ability Shetland’s mountain trikes as well as doing miles on his wheelchair home trainer.

“My life has changed so much since then and it is because of this that I have been able to get outside and see sights I never thought I would see with my family and friends,” he said.

“Doing this is important for my mental health, as it takes my mind off the whole situation with lockdown while raising funds for the charity. I am also inspiring others which is quite nice. I am getting responses from people from all the world.”

Ability Shetland team leader Stephanie Bain described the teenager as a “trooper” whose drive is an example to others.

“Not only is this helping our charity to keep doing the work we do across Shetland by raising funds, it also highlights ability and what people with disabilities are capable of, that they have gifts and skills and contribute to society as much as the next person,” she said.

“Due to his social media presence, highlighting his challenge and the places he has been able to access with the all-terrain wheelchair, we have seen a surge in enquiries about borrowing our chairs recently.”

More info about the all-terrain wheelchairs available from the charity can be found at https://www.abilityshetland.com/all-terrain-wheelchairs

Brynn Hauxwell’s fundraising page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Brynns1679milesofshetlandcoastline