- Posted by Boyce Precision Engineering
- On November 2, 2017
- 0 Comments
The Kerr family from the village of Annahilt, near Lisburn are a running team known as ‘Team
Kerr. They consist of parents, David and Sandra and their son, Aaron.
Aaron was born with chronic renal failure which resulted in a kidney transplant in 2010 at the
age of 13. Aaron received his new kidney from his father David. It was a perfect match and
he has made great progress since. However, in addition to his kidney condition, Aaron has
been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a chromosome disorder and is confined to
a wheelchair. Aaron is also non-verbal and uses body language as he has no formal means of
communication. But Aaron’s family have found a way to enable Aaron to enjoy sport and the
great outdoors. Aaron loves to experience the feeling of the wind in his hair that able-bodied
runners feel and he does this through assisted running.
Team Kerr are now well-known faces in Northern Ireland’s running scene and have competed
in many races both locally and further afield, doing much to raise awareness of the benefits
of assisted running for disabled adults and children.
In May the Kerr family hit a proverbial ‘bump in the road’ after Aaron’s running chair broke
down, putting a halt to their training and race participation plans for a number of months.
After an online appeal, Team Kerr raised £3,500 towards the cost of a new chair for Aaron
and identified a local company that could help them to build it – that was none other than
our team here at Boyce Precision Engineering!
Whilst designing wheelchairs is not an everyday occurrence at Boyce Precision Engineering,
we are passionate about sport and helping people in need so we were only too willing to rise
to the challenge and help to get Team Kerr back on the road. Our Director, Brian Boyce who
also does a bit of running in his spare time got to work on designing a new running wheelchair
for Aaron and the Kerr family were thrilled with the results.
Dad David said: “Brian put in a lot of hard work and late nights to design and build Aaron’s
chair, something we very much appreciate. He listened to all of our ideas and requirements
and came up with a chair that works for both us and Aaron. Having someone local build the
chair made life a lot easier for us, and it was great to pop down and watch the progress.
Aaron’s old chair was from the US.”
David said he could also really notice the difference between Aaron’s old chair and the new
“It is so much more comfortable. It is a little bit higher and a lot stronger. It is made of a
strong but very lightweight steel. We are an awful lot more confident out on the road. Before
we had to take the wheel off if we had a puncture. We would have to lie the chair on its side,
and Aaron has to sit in it. We once had to do that on the Sydenham bypass. It was very
difficult. Now we have a new jack to help with punctures.
Aaron has just completed the Dublin Marathon in his new running chair designed by Boyce
Precision Engineering. Team Kerr have also set up Aaron’s Army, a registered charity, which
raises money for running chairs for other families in similar situations so perhaps we will one
day build another chair for another assisted runner.
The Kerr family have given our prototype assisted running chair its own name – they’re calling
it ‘Team Kerr Mark 1’. We hope it helps them to hit the mark with their running targets!
You can keep up-to-date with the running adventures of Aaron’s Army by following Team Kerr
on their Facebook page.