A four-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy has raised over £3,000 for the Masks for NHS Heroes campaign by walking 100 laps of his garden with his walking sticks.
Inspired by Captain Tom Moore, Lewis Whele had initially hoped to raise £500 for the charity, but exceeded his target after walking 10 laps of his garden everyday for 10 days.
He did so less than a year after having a life changing operation to help him walk.
His mother Toni said: “We wanted to do something to help his physio, because Lewis had an operation last June on his spine. It removed all of the nerves that had the tightness in them that prevents him from walking well. Lewis could only take a few steps unaided before the operation and couldn't walk without sticks so what he managed to walk during this challenge is a massive achievement and in particular that he did the length of the garden without his sticks.
“He walks on his tiptoes, because the muscles are tight all the time and can’t relax or switch off, like when you or I walk.
“So, he had this operation, but part of it is that he has to have a two-year intensive physio session, because the muscles are so weak afterwards he has to build that back up.”
Lewis was in the middle of his intensive rehabilitation programme when it was cut short due to the social distancing. “We were in the middle of the physio, he was going three times a week,” Toni said. “He was also doing horse riding and swimming, but we thought what can we do to get him motivated with walking and doing all his physio work.
“We didn’t want to set too much of a high limit to put pressure on him, we started off with £500 but then it went up and up.” One of the fun parts of the fundraising attempt for Lewis was the chance to wear a different fancy dress outfit each day, including that of Spiderman, Thor, Hulk and even a doctor outfit.
Mum Toni said there were, however, concerning moments during Lewis’s walk. “Two of the days it was raining, we were worried it would be a bit slippery”, she said. “You fell a couple of times didn’t you? But what did you do when you fell?”
Lewis replied: “I got back up again.”
Toni added: “On the last day we thought we could try and see if he would do a whole length across the garden. His balance is still not great, someone always has to be behind him.”
Lewis’s efforts have also drawn plenty of support on his fundraising page. One comment reads: “What a fantastic achievement Lewis! I don't know you personally but you're an inspiration to me and have worked so hard. Thank you for all you've done and keep going young man - there's no stopping you now.”
That’s the main message Toni wants to take away from this. Along with son Lewis, she wants to pay tribute to all of the children battling various conditions every day. “I’ve heard a lot of families say my child is a superhero, they all are, they all work hard, they’ve all got conditions that are a real pain for them,” she said."We are so proud of Lewis raising money for the NHS who have done so much for him. We want to show him that whatever challenges he may have he can still help others."
Nemesha Patel is a guest writer for the Masks for NHS Heroes blog. She is the Co-Founder of positive news blog Peak Positivity (www.peak-video.com/blog). (Instagram & Twitter: @nemeshab & @peakpositivity1)