THERE can’t be too many smiles in Walsall as big as this young boy’s – because this seven-year-old is now whizzing around on his specially-made bike with his friends.
Cole Richards, seven, has cerebral palsy and all he’s ever wanted is “to be normal like his friends at school”.
And thanks to generous donations from the community and backing from the Willenhall and Walsall Rotary Clubs and Walsall Inner Wheel, Cole’s wish became reality – on his birthday!
“He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at just 15 months,” mum Amy explained.
“We were told [Cole] would never walk, talk or eat by himself again but he’s now doing all three. He’s so determined!
“A lot of Cole doing well is down to the physio we do at home with him. We are hard on him but we push him to do it for himself and he’s now reaping the rewards.
“Just last week he won the running race at his sports day, albeit from half the distance from the others but he won and you should have seen his face.
“He gets upset when he can’t do things and is always up at having a go at anything.”
Cole, who attends Abbey Primary School, turned seven on Friday (July 22) and Amy and his dad Callum presented him with his new custom-made bike.
Amy, of Glastonbury Crescent in Bloxwich, added: “He’s always wanted a bike and to be normal like his friends at school.
“We started fund-raising for one back in May and we’ve managed to raise around £700 through donations and a cake sale at his school.
“I have been blown away by the support, I really have.
“He’s at a summer holiday club at the minute with other disabled kids and all he wants to do his come home and ride his new bike!”
Cole’s family are now hoping to raise up to £20,000 for a life-changing operation to help Cole walk more freely.
“The operation – selective dorsal rhizotomy treatment – will cost around £15,000 and we’d need extra physio and equipment on top of that,” added mother-of-two Amy.
“[Cole] will be worse off afterwards but in the long run it will hopefully help him walk on his own with sticks or unaided.
“He wants to jump, run and do what other children do.
“The bike will go a long way, too, in helping him building up his muscles without him even knowing.”
Amy and Callum are in the process of setting up a special trust fund for Cole’s treatment. More details will be released in next week’s Advertiser.
Read more at http://www.walsalladvertiser.co.uk/walsall/story-29551603-detail/story.html#QQMpzPrDavMdRuQH.99