BY TOBY PORTER
A girl has discovered her love for wheelchair basketball after attending a sports event hosted by Evelina London.
Skye McWalter, 10, from Streatham Hill was inspired to take up the sport after attending the annual Evelina London Sports Camp, which is run by Evelina London’s community physiotherapist team every summer.
The week-long event, which has run since 2014, aims to help patients aged five to 17, who have a disability, and their families, to get involved in sports.
The activities, which include swimming, cycling, boxing and wheelchair basketball, are all led by a qualified disability sports coach in venues across Lambeth and Southwark.
Skye said: “I love going to the Evelina London Sports Camp. I enjoy trying all of the different sports, but wheelchair basketball is my favourite.
It’s an exciting sport and I really enjoy playing for Lambeth’s wheelchair basketball club.
I’ve been practising with them every Sunday since spring. “It’s great being part of a team and meeting new people. I’ve made lots of new friends through the Sports Camp and wheelchair basketball. It’s a really fun way to keep fit and active.”
Skye, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after she was born prematurely at 27 weeks, has attended the Sports Camp every year since 2015.
Having loved playing wheelchair basketball at the camp, she is now a member of Lambeth’s official wheelchair basketball club.
Julia Porter, Skye’s mum, said: “The Evelina London Sports Camp has been really great for Skye.
She didn’t have much of an interest in sport before she attended the camp, so if she hadn’t gone she wouldn’t have discovered her love of wheelchair basketball.
“It was from attending the camp that her love for the sport really took off. “One of the coaches noticed how enthusiastic she was about playing wheelchair basketball, and encouraged her to join Lambeth’s club.
“Since Skye joined the club her passion and interest in the sport has really grown. It has been a real joy watching her play.
“The fantastic care Skye has received at Evelina London has also made it possible for her to play wheelchair basketball.
“Skye has been a patient at the hospital since she was seven years old, and the physiotherapy sessions she’s been attending in the community have really helped to improve her strength and mobility, especially around her right side, which is the weakest part of her body.
“Everyone involved in Skye’s care at Evelina London has been brilliant. I’m really thankful for all the support she has received.
Skye has really flourished under Evelina London’s care.” Judith Hanna, specialist paediatric community physiotherapist at Evelina London, said: “It’s really pleasing to know that Skye has been inspired to take up wheelchair basketball after attending our Sports Camp.
“The aim of the camp is to encourage children with disabilities to participate in sports, so it’s a really fantastic outcome when the event directly leads to our patients finding a new hobby or after-school activity that involves physical activity.
“Sport is a great way for children with physical disabilities to improve their strength and fitness, and build their self-confidence, but it can be a struggle to find an activity that’s right for them.
“Our Sports Camp is a fun way for children with physical disabilities to try a number of different sporting activities in a supportive and welcoming environment.
“Since we held our first Sports Camp in 2014 the number of children who attend has grown substantially, with more than 30 young patients attending this year’s event.
“The feedback from participants is always really positive. We have families who come every year.”
The Evelina London Sports Camp is funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
The 2018 event was held from Monday, July 30 to Friday, August 3.