WALK FOR ME

An in­cred­i­ble act of kind­ness changed a boy’s life for­ever...

Pick Me Up! Special - - On The Cover -

WAnn Drew­ery, 49, Chep­stow atch­ing my son, Bre­con, five, as he sat at the kitchen ta­ble hap­pily scrib­bling away, my heart swelled with pride.

‘What do you think, Mummy?’ he said, hold­ing up his draw­ing. ‘Very good, well done!’ I said. It was hard to be­lieve that Bre­con had such a tough start to life.

My part­ner, Rob Vaughan, 49, and I were des­per­ate to start a fam­ily, and af­ter two years with­out suc­cess, we were be­gin­ning to think it would’t hap­pen.

‘Let’s not give up,’ Rob would say re­as­sur­ingly, each time I emerged from the bath­room in tears.

When two blue lines fi­nally ap­peared on the plas­tic stick in my hand, I couldn’t be­lieve it.

As the news sank in, I be­came a bag of nerves and con­vinced my­self that some­thing would go wrong.

But my pregnancy went with­out a hitch.

When I gave birth to Bre­con via cae­sarean at the Royal Gwent Hos­pi­tal in New­port on 24 Septem­ber 2007, our lit­tle fam­ily fi­nally felt com­plete.

But soon our bliss turned into a night­mare, when Bre­con was checked over and we dis­cov­ered he had two dis­lo­cated hips.

At just five days old, the doc­tor placed him into a pelvic har­ness to help his hips shift back into the right po­si­tion.

‘He will need to wear the har­ness con­stantly for four months,’ he warned us.with straps looped over his legs push­ing them out­wards and ma­te­rial across his chest and shoul­ders, Bre­con looked like a lit­tle frog.

But although it worked with one hip, the other wouldn’t budge.

‘The next step is a closed re­duc­tion op­er­a­tion to put it right,’ the con­sul­tant told us.

He ex­plained that the surgery would in­volve phys­i­cally ma­nip­u­lat­ing the hip joint to get the ball back into the socket while Bre­con was un­der gen­eral anes­thetic. As he was wheeled into theatre, I anx­iously paced the cor­ri­dors.

The first at­tempt failed, so Bre­con had to un­dergo a sec­ond op­er­a­tion be­fore he had even reached nine months old. Then a third at 13 months. Each time lit­tle Bre­con was put in a body cast, which cov­ered him from his chest down to his feet.

Be­cause he had been rigid for so long, when the plas­ter even­tu­ally came off, he was floppy and all over the place. He had to learn how

crawl again and wasn’t reach­ing the mile­stones that other chil­dren his age were, but we thought it was due to every­thing he’d been through since he was born. I longed to watch him take his

first steps, but it just wasn’t hap­pen­ing.

What we didn’t re­alise was that Bre­con’s hip prob­lems were over­shad­ow­ing some­thing much more se­ri­ous.

‘Bre­con has spas­tic diple­gia cere­bral palsy,’ a spe­cial­ist told us. Bre­con was two-and-half years old.

I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks. I was dev­as­tated.

All along I knew some­thing wasn’t quite right,but I never imag­ined it would be life chang­ing.

The de­bil­i­tat­ing nerve-mus­cle con­di­tion meant Bre­con would have stiff­ness in his legs and poor bal­ance and co-or­di­na­tion.

‘He’ll never be able to run with his friends,’ I whis­pered. It broke my heart. But we were de­ter­mined to give Bre­con every op­por­tu­nity in life.

We adapted the house and garden, and bought him a walker so he could tot­ter from place to place more in­de­pen­dently.

When Bre­con started nurs­ery, the staff couldn’t have been more ac­com­mo­dat­ing and the other

chil­dren were in­trigued by his walker. All our fears melted away as he was al­ways in­cluded.

But ev­ery­day tasks, like get­ting a drink or go­ing to the toi­let, weren’t straight­for­ward for Bre­con and

some­times it would get him down. ‘I can’t keep up with my friends,’ he’d moan af­ter a tough day at school.

I’d give him a squeeze and he’d quickly bounce back.

Bre­con never failed to amaze me.

A chance meet­ing gave us all hope, when we bumped into a fam­ily whose son also had cere­bral palsy.

He’d un­der­gone pi­o­neer­ing surgery in Amer­ica and was learn­ing to walk by him­self.

We were so emo­tional and vowed to do the same for Bre­con.

As we browsed the in­ter­net, we found out about the se­lec­tive dor­sal rhi­zo­tomy pro­ce­dure that would en­able Bre­con to walk un­aided.

Although when we added up costs, they to­talled £60,000. ‘It doesn’t mat­ter how long it takes, we’ll raise the money,’ I said.

We both knew we couldn’t deny Bre­con the op­por­tu­nity to walk.

Quickly our event plan­ning be­came like a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion. It took up most of our time and left us ex­hausted, but we knew it would be worth the ef­fort.through cof­fee morn­ings, fetes and pub quizzes, we were able to raise £11,000, but we were still a long way off the fig­ure re­quired.

‘I got a mes­sage on Face­book,’ Rob said to me one even­ing. ‘Some­one wants to help Bre­con’s cause.’ He told me he had been con­tacted by Michaela Black, 45, whose son, Dan, 25, had been paral­ysed in a cy­cling ac­ci­dent four years pre­vi­ously. Ever since, he had been rais­ing money for pi­o­neer­ing stem cell treat­ment which could one day help him to walk again.

But af­ter col­lect­ing £20,000, he wanted to give it all to Bre­con so he could have the chance to learn to walk in­stead. Dan self­lessly de­cided to aban­don his own dream af­ter hear­ing about Bre­con.‘i can’t be­lieve it!’ I gasped, burst­ing in to tears. He lived just 10 min­utes away from us and had read about Bre­con and his con­di­tion in the lo­cal news­pa­per.‘that’s a third of our target, it’s a huge amount of money,’ I cried. Dan’s kind ges­ture re­ceived na­tional pub­lic­ity and soon do­na­tions from across the world came flood­ing in.

Within a few weeks we hit and even ex­ceeded the £60,000 mark.

Bre­con had his op­er­a­tion in Oc­to­ber 2013, and we used the re­main­ing funds to pay for his on­go­ing phys­io­ther­apy.

In June 2014, he took his first in­de­pen­dent steps.

He is now nine and is so happy to be just like his friends. He re­fuses to use his walker now. He still has a long way to go, but he is get­ting stronger every day.

We couldn’t be more grate­ful to Dan. His gen­er­ous ges­ture has al­lowed our son to live a nor­mal life and we’re so thank­ful.

What Dan did was in­cred­i­ble

We ex­ceeded our target

Bre­con never gives up try­ing

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