SUFFOLK-based SunSkips has served up a ‘champion’ boost towards a teenager’s dream of playing wheelchair tennis at top level.
The skip hire business has handed over £5,000 to East Anglia charity GeeWizz, to majority-fund a special wheelchair for a tennis-playing teen with cerebral palsy.
Team GB athlete Ruby Bishop, 17, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy hemiplegia when she was just two years old, and dreams of becoming a wheelchair tennis champion.
Despite suffering with complex regional pain syndrome and fatigue, the Norfolk teen is well on her way to the Paris 2024 Paralympics. She is currently ranked in the top five players in the world for girls, and the top 85 for women’s singles and doubles.
The unstoppable youngster has also won a host of top awards including regional winner and national finalist for the Young Person of the Year Award at the LTA Tennis Awards 2022.
She also campaigns against discrimination in sport and for more inclusive PE lessons in schools for children with disabilities.
However, to help her tennis dream along, the talented teen needs a highly specialised wheelchair costing more than £7,000.
Managing director of SunSkips, Mat Stewart, was so touched by Ruby’s story and the work local charity GeeWizz is doing to help her and other children with a range of health conditions across East Anglia, that he felt compelled to get involved.
The donation from Sunskips has gone a significant way towards covering the cost of the wheelchair. An online raffle will run from July 4-12 to raise the remainder.
Mat said: “GeeWizz does so much and it’s really inspiring to see the impact they make in our area – especially in this case, where they identified Ruby’s need for a specialist wheelchair and set about raising the funds to change her life.”
Cerebral palsy hemiplegia is the result of damage to the parts of the brain that control muscle movements. The damage can occur before, during or soon after birth.
Around 30,000 children in the UK are affected by cerebral palsy.
Ruby endured multiple operations when she was younger which affected her mobility. She started playing wheelchair basketball and then branched into playing wheelchair tennis. Within just a year she had been placed on the Tennis Juniors programme.
A charming thank-you postcard was sent to the SunSkips offices from Aileen Belsberg, CEO of GeeWizz. She said: “We are completely blown away by your hugely generous donation. We are beyond grateful to you for your kindness.”
It’s the latest in a string of charitable gestures made by the East Anglia-based waste management business, formed in 2020 when it took over Stowmarket Skip Hire Ltd.
Earlier this year, SunSkips sponsored three trees at Bury St Edmunds RUFC to raise funds for the club and contribute to improving the environment.
The business also donated a 40-yard skip to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service to help raise £3,000 for a Christmas campaign and raised £750 for Cancer Research after spraying some of its distinctive orange skips pink to mark Breast Cancer awareness month in October.
Although launched at the peak of the pandemic, SunSkips has quickly grown from a single yard in Stowmarket to a three-site business spanning East Anglia, with a second location in Cambridge and new waste transfer site on the way at Haverhill.
Main photo: GeeWizz CEO Aileen Belsberg and SunSkips sales manager Peter Healey. Photo credit: Katie Ewan