Spirit of Christmas strong
Wimmera residents have shown the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the region, coming to the aid of nineyear-old Ted Johnson and his family.
Earlier this month The Weekly Advertiser reported on a campaign by Horsham Ss Michael and John’s Primary School community to raise money for a new bike for Ted.
Ted was born with a congenital condition called bilateral tibial hemimelia – meaning he had no knees, shins or ankles – and had both legs amputated.
With a special, custom-made bike for Ted costing $11,000, the school rallied around his family with a ‘Ten 4 Ted’ campaign.
The aim of the campaign was to raise enough money for a new bike, with the idea that 1100 people donating $10 each could meet the target.
The community responded more generously than Ted’s mother Abbie Clark or Ten 4 Ted organiser Louise Chesterfield could have imagined, raising more than $15,000 in just 10 days.
Ms Clark said she was ‘blown away’ by the support of Wimmera residents in the lead-up to Christmas.
“We’re so thankful to the community and everybody for being so generous,” she said.
“It’s a really joyful feeling, which you don’t get to feel much anymore, so it’s been great for our family.
“We would just like to express our gratitude to everyone who got involved.”
Ms Clark said the extra money raised by the Ten 4 Ted campaign had been put towards buying new prosthetic legs for Ted.
She said his prosthetics needed replacing about every 10 months, and he often needed multiple sets of legs for different situations.
Ted will travel to Melbourne today to try out a model of his new bike.
Ms Clark said the model Ted would receive was still being built and would be more customised to his needs, but the trial would give him more of an idea of what to expect.
She said the excitement of being able to ride a bike for the first time was finally starting to hit Ted.
“He’s a bit more excited now that he knows we’re going to test it out,” she said.
“He’s decided he wants a red one.
“We’ve talked about when he gets road safe how he might be able to meet his friends and ride to school together when they get older.
“I said I’d get a bike and ride with him, but he’s decided I have to run, which is never going to happen.”