Just over a year after losing the use of his legs, eight-year-old Patrick Majewski wore a smile that would have warmed the coldest of hearts.
Wheelchair-bound after a tragic accident which resulted in the death of his father, the Cooinda Primary School student showed off on the basketball court to his fellow classmates during a Wheel LIFE sports disability education program last week.
Cooinda Primary sports teacher Peter Upson said the program, run by Wheelchair Sports WA, helped highlight the challenges Patrick and those with disabilities faced on a daily basis.
“It just shows the kids what Patrick goes through every day and helps them appreciate the difficulties that confront him,” he said.
Mr Upson said a never-say-never attitude typified the Year 3 student, who listened intently to Perth Wheelcats’ basketballer Nick Radovich and shone in a game of wheelchair basketball.
“He won’t say I can’t do that, it is too hard — he will always have a go,” Mr Upson said.
Patrick’s education assistant Bev Ward was full of praise for the young battler, who has faced an uphill battle with disability since his father, Chris, fell to his death trying to save him on a family holiday last year.
“He is amazing. Where he has come from since his accident is amazing; he is just like one of the kids now,” she said.
He goes up to rehab in Perth and he always comes back with a bit more independence.
Wheelchair Sports WA assistant coordinator Lindal Rohde said the Wheel LIFE program was designed to motivate students and give them an idea of what it was like to live with a physical disability.
“Most of the time you can talk as much as you want about how hard it is and how much more difficult it makes everything, but it can be difficult to understand until they get in the chair and see how hard it is to move anywhere,” she said.
“It is also good socially for the children in the wheelchairs because sometimes they feel a bit isolated and a lot of them have not very high confidence.”