Pupils on a roll

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

CLAU­DIA Chaney’s class­mates no longer have to imag­ine what her life in a wheel­chair is like.

Spend­ing the last two weeks in their own chair has given them a first­hand look.

Clau­dia was di­ag­nosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when she was 3. A bone mar­row trans­plant cured the can­cer but left her with graft ver­sus host dis­ease.

The de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion af­fected her skin, mus­cles, joints and gas­troin­testi­nal tract.

Be­fore last year she spent most of her life in hos­pi­tal with large non-heal­ing scalp wounds that re­quired con­stant skin grafts from her legs to treat and twice­weekly anaes­the­sia to change the dress­ings.

She also had to be fed through a tube.

Clau­dia, 12, re­lies on a wheel­chair but her con­di­tion has im­proved and last year she was able to com­plete her first full year of classes at Ko­hia Ter­race School.

The wheel­chair ex­per­i­ment started as a way to in­clude Clau­dia in a J Rock per­for­mance, teacher Helen out to go to the toi­let, teacher Louis Heap says.

‘‘Con­se­quently we’ve had some in­ter­est­ing sit­u­a­tions. One girl wheeled her­self in too close to a desk and got stuck.

‘‘If they get stuck it’s their prob­lem, they need to find their way out,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s been great for the kids that aren’t in the chairs as well who have had to ac­com­mo­date their friends into daily play.’’

Clau­dia has en­joyed be­ing able to help her class­mates get used to life on wheels and says at times it has been quite en­ter­tain­ing.

‘‘There have been jams in front of the she says.

‘‘It looks like it’s been a lot of fun.

‘‘It’s been cool to see ev­ery­one else in chairs like me and think­ing about stuff they wouldn’t usu­ally think about,’’ she says. traf­fic door,’’

New per­spec­tive: Clau­dia Chaney gives her class­mates Joyce Wang, left, and Joshua Busch a few tips on get­ting around in a wheel­chair.

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