Christian: 'I'm determined to make a difference'

Disabled man on seafront

Christian Bandicoot - Credit: Submitted

Inspirational Christian Bandicoot – forced to spend his life laid on his back - is determined to ‘make a difference’ to help others. 

The 34-year-old, who lives in Brixham, was born with a rare muscle wasting condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  

It means he is missing the ingredients needed for is muscles to grow. He has to be horizontal as it is too difficult on his breathing -  he stopped sitting up right when he was 15. 

Disabled man and cat

Christian and friend - Credit: Submitted

 But he says: “Despite my challenges, I owe a lot to my condition as it has made me extremely determined and motivated to show the world that no matter what your circumstances are anything is possible when you put your mind to it.  

“I recently turned 34 and because of my condition I feel that if I am going to do something big that actually makes a difference then it's pretty much now or never as none of my doctors ever thought that I would make it this far and neither did I.” 

Christian has started a campaign to create awareness and the urgent need for a first ever place that offers respite for young adults in the South West. 

He explains: “It is a fact that thanks to medical advancements with technology and medicines, many of us are now living well beyond what was ever expected from all of our complex conditions. 

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“This is obviously a great thing but many of us feel that now we have reached adulthood, it is like we have been forgotten about as the services that were once there for us as a child are suddenly whipped out from beneath our wheels as soon as we reach 18.  

“This seems like an issue that has been overlooked for many years and now that we are all getting older, the more complex our conditions becomes, the more there is a vital need for support. 

“I would like to change this and help everyone across the UK have access to somewhere that is fully accessible for respite. Being physically disabled makes it extremely difficult finding accessible holiday destinations as some people require more than wheelchair access, like for instance an electric bed to help with positioning and comfort, so to have a place for young adults would be the best solution for so many people."

Disabled man on back

Determined: Christian - Credit: Submitted

He said that currently the Children’s Hospice South West is only able to defer children that reach adulthood back to their own home.  

“I know this as it happened to me and many other people who also now have nowhere to go for respite,” he says. 

“This place for young adults could play a key role in supporting the CHSW and give somewhere that people can be deferred to."

He has set up a gofundme page to raise money to kickstart the campaign and is asking for fund-raising ideas. His first target is £5,000 which will allow him to set up a charity. 

The page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/nhqnm?fbclid=IwAR2CHgRPCn-PpH0exjDtwA5q-T3R_1ErYyNSTJmbBCysgEhnsc0t2vkIr-E . His email address is c.bandicoot@btinternet.com 

He says: “I am taking on this massive task to help all of those who would benefit from going to a place like this and I am not stopping until it becomes a reality. I have been overwhelmed by the huge amount of positive messages and support for this project which definitely highlights the vital need for such a place.”