ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF
Thomas Morrison is testing his new wheelchair on Auckland's Kohimarama Beach.
Ten-year-old Thomas Morrison loves water, but until recently, there was no chance for a walk.
Thomas has a rare form of muscular dystrophy – a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass – and uses a wheelchair to infiltrate into and out of water.
But buying a new accessible baby wheelchair means that the Auckland boy will be able to return to his "happy place" and spend the summer with his family on the beach, Mum Louise Morrison.
When he was younger, Morrison and her husband Michael could carry Thomas from his tower over the sand and into the water.
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But when he became older, it became more difficult.
They tried to drag Thomas along the beach in Thom, but his wheels were jammed in the sand.
"It was very difficult to get into the water and from it … we did not succeed as a family."
Earlier this year, Thomas's school went to a camp in Long Bay, which had some old invalid wheelchairs.
He spent all the time in the water, said Morrison.
In fact, deckchairs on hard plastic, air-filled wheels, a tower, accessible to the beach they buy, easily overturn the soft sand and mud.
Thomas can sit in a chair in the water and can "ride waves". It can also be used for entry into and out of swimming pools.
"A whole new world is opening up," said Morrison.
"Ocean is his happy place and his little brother is so enthusiastic that he can survive with him in the water."
Because of his condition, Thomas is "deeply weak". He has a very low muscle tone and low bone density through his body, said Morrison.
Not only would his wheelchair allow him to do something that he likes, but also an excellent physical exercise, as he maintains the muscles and moves the body, she said.
"It's very important to move it, it's really good for him.
"If you do not use your muscles, you lose them."
The St Heliers family received $ 5730 from the Mazda Foundation for the chair. They arrived from Hamilton on Wednesday.