THE family of a nine-year-old boy who has been left paralysed by a neuro-muscular disease are appealing for help to make sure he can continue to play his favourite sport.

Alex Mason, from Barlby, was diagnosed with Friedreich's ataxia when he was just four, and now uses a powered wheelchair.

For the last year he has played with Leeds Powerchair Football, which mum Louise says has given him a vital chance to play sport and be part of a team, but that is now under threat if he does not get a new chair which costs £4,500.

"Alex was diagnosed just before he was five which is very young. Seeing him deteriorate has been really hard. From having a son who could run, draw and play to Alex not being able to walk or even brush his own teeth has been heartbreaking. The symptoms of his condition have accelerated a lot faster than other children; usually they are able to walk until their teens."

A year after he started playing powerchair football Alex, a pupil at Barlby Community Primary, loves the sport so much that Louise and her husband Derek want to get him a new powered wheelchair to make sure he can play when his current chair, which has been battered and damaged by the game, has to be retired.

Louise added: “With his condition this is one of the only sports he can take part in and the change in him has been amazing. Being involved with the club has helped him get out of the house and meet new people, so it’s had a huge affect on his confidence.

"Not being able to play powerchair football would be devastating for Alex, it’s something he really enjoys and it’s helped him get out and express himself. Seeing the changes in him in the last six months has been amazing, and he needs this chair to keep doing what he loves.”

Charity Caudwell Children has stepped in to help towards the £4,500 cost, and now the Masons are appealing for donations to help Alex and other children with disabilities.

For more information on Alex’s appeal and to donate visit or text MASO60(£2) to 70070.