Can you help a disabled Harpenden nine-year-old's Christmas dream come true?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 November 2017
Can you help give a disabled nine-year-old the ultimate gift of running and playing independently this Christmas?
Harpenden’s Will Horton was born eight weeks early with a bleed to his brain, resulting in the most severe form of cerebral palsy - spastic quadriplegi.
Since his diagnosis at 18 months old Will has struggled to control the muscles in his trunk and all four limbs, and even after surgery he cannot move more than 100m unaided without his standing frame or wheelchair.
Parents David and Rebecca thought running would never be possible for Will, until this summer when he discovered Quest 88’s RaceRunner bike.
Riders push the modified cycle along the ground with their feet. At first Will was sceptical and nervous, protesting that he “can’t try it because [he] can’t walk”, but once he got on, everything changed.
On the bike Will can move around independently for long periods of time, and also run and play.
David said he was overwhelmed to see Will so happy: “He’s not walking, he does have a wheelchair that he pushes himself in but he can only do short distances and gets clogged down in wet grass.
“But then he gets on this RaceRunner and spends an hour just walking around. He covered more ground than he ever has before and we were in floods in tears.
“This is a truly liberating piece of equipment in that he can go anywhere he wants to go.”
Will has not stopped talking about the RaceRunner since he tried it, David said.
“He had a race with his sister, Olivia, saying ‘look, we are running together, we are having a running race’ and that’s something we have never considered for him.”
The family would like to surprise Will with a RaceRunner for Christmas but cannot afford the £2,800 bike.
David said: “It’s another piece of equipment - he already had a standing frame, a wheelchair, physiotherapy and various different bits and pieces to aid his condition which just aren’t funded - we have spent a lot of money on them.”
Adding it would mean the world to Will: “It would be wonderful if we could get this RaceRunner.
“He would be able to independently play in the garden, run up and down and go for walks with his new puppy. The idea that he can run was overwhelming for us because he believed in himself. For him to say, ‘I can do it, I can race my sister and my friends’, was phenomenal.
“Just to be able to do a kids thing of running in a field, go to the common and take the dog for a walk are such basic things, but it’s such a huge thing to give him.”
Will is renting a RaceRunner to take part in Superhero Series’ Winter Wonderwheels 5K race around Windsor’s Dorney Lake on Sunday December 3 with two friends from Crabtree Junior School - he is very excited to do something which would have been impossible before.
Superhero Series challenges are specifically designed for disabled people without restrictions on equipment or cut-off times.
The Hortons describe their always-smiling son as a “chatterbox with a wonderful sense of humour”.
Rebecca said: “We were initially told he may never walk or talk, but our amazing boy has proved the doctors wrong in so many ways.
“He is an inspiration. I have never known a child with the fight that this boy seems to have.”
RaceRunner manufacturers Quest 88 began making tricycles for children with cerebral palsy in 1991 and aim to enable people with different levels of physical and cognitive ability to cycle alongside their peers, get fit, have fun and be included.