Pupils on a roll
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.