ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF
Thomas Morrison is testing his new wheelchair at Kohimarama Beach in Auckland.
Thomas Morrison, 10, loves water, but until recently he did not go to the beach.
Thomas has a rare form of muscular dystrophy – a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass – and uses a wheelchair, which makes entry and exit from the water a fight.
But buying a new wheelchair accessible on the beach will mean that the Oakland boy can get back to his "happy place" and spend quality time with his family on the beach this summer, said mom Louise Morrison.
When younger, Morrison and her husband Michael could carry Thomas from his chair to the sand and into the water.
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But as it gets older it gets harder.
They have even tried to pull Thomas along the beach into a hair, but her wheels are stuck in the sand.
"It was very difficult to approach him and get out of the water … we did not manage to do that as a family."
Earlier this year Thomas's school went to Long Bay, which happened to have some old beach chairs.
He spent all day in the water, Morrison said.
Essentially a lounger in hard plastic, air-filled wheels, the beach-accessible chair that you bought easily runs over soft sand and mud.
Thomas can sit on the chair in the water and can "lead the waves". It can also be used to enter and exit the swimming pools.
"It opens for us a whole new world," said Morrison.
"The ocean is his happy part and his little brother is so excited that he can spend time with him in the water."
Because of his condition, Thomas is "deeply weak". It has very low muscle tone and low bone density throughout its body, said Morrison.
The wheelchair would not only allow him to do something he loves but was also a great physiological workout as he keeps his muscles and body moving, he said.
"It is very important to keep him moving, he is very good for him.
"If you do not use your muscles, you lose them."
The St Heliers family received $ 5730 from the Mazda Foundation for the chair. He was weeed by Hamilton and arrived on Wednesday.