Young Paralympic hopeful, Rio Woolf, receives custom steps to assist with bathtime

Rio Woolf meets Esther Ranzten at a DEMAND charity event

Rio Woolf meets Esther Ranzten at a DEMAND charity event

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

An aspiring Paralympic athlete from Bushey Heath has been given custom made steps to help him get into the bath by himself.

Five-year-old Rio Woolf was born with no tibia, knee or ankle joint due to a rare condition called Tibial Aplasia.

His leg was amputated when he was 14 months old and he now aspires to follow in the "blade-steps" of his Paralympic heroes.

Rio’s parents Trevor, 47, and Juliette, 44, of Bushy Heath said that bath times meant back ache as they lifted Rio in and out of his bath and this would have been a continual difficulty as Rio grew older and heavier.

DEMAND, who are a charity based in Abbots Langley, has produced some custom made steps to help Rio get into his bath by himself after being approached by Rio’s parents.

The charity also made some comforting leg and blade rests to help him at school.

The rails on the right hand side of the steps have been designed with a space to allow room for Rio to swing his left leg over into the bath when he's sitting with his back to the bath and turning around.

The Hartsbourne Primary School pupil also found sitting in class uncomfortable as the weight of his prosthetic leg was heavy and rigid making Rio tire easily, so DEMAND made Rio a special chair that was able to support his leg and make sitting more comfortable.

Mrs Woolf said: "Both pieces of equipment have worked brilliantly to help him to sit up straight at school in his special chair, and at the table in the dining hall.

"He can now also get in and out of the bath independently, and it saves my back and my husband's from the excessive strain of lifting Rio as he grows up."

DEMAND is a charity dedicated to helping people with disabilities that require bespoke equipment to help them with their everyday lives.

Mrs Woolf continued: "Since the photo from DEMAND was taken last summer, Rio's life has been changed by the wonderful running blade that he was gifted by Dorset Orthopedic after I forwarded them the Channel 4 News video of him running with Jonnie Peacock which was broadcast last November."

Rio’s ambition is inspiring and following a hard day of running every aspiring athlete needs a good long bubble bath.

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