I have (foolishly?!) signed up to the Great North Run this year for a cause very close to my heart.
I was lucky enough to get through on the GNR general entry ballot, which means I can fundraise for any cause or charity I want, and I cannot think of anything better to motivate me to drag myself around a 13.1mile half marathon course than my beautiful little cousin, Deegan.
Deegan is five years old and was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Level 4 Cerebral Palsy when he was 12 months. He has faced an uphill battle since being a baby, struggling to even sit up or crawl, the ‘normal’ things you may take for granted.
He is the most positive little boy I know. Every day, he has had constant physiotherapy, injections in to his muscles to keep his legs moving, wearing splints around his legs for 8+ hours per day, all just to be able to attempt to walk with a specialist walker.
Last year, he had major surgery on both of his hips. They were broken so a plate could be inserted in each of his legs with the hope that he would not be wheelchair bound. He had slow progression after this, and a really rough few months, but in April this year, the plates were removed and he was able to walk with the aid of his walker.
He has a long way to go in his recovery from surgery, but nothing seems to stop this little boy from achieving sometimes what we feel is the impossible. From early diagnosis we never expected Deegan to be able to crawl, let alone walk.
Some days he says enough is enough, but this is understandable as he is getting older and no doubt seeing what other kids his age can do with little or no effort. I want to give him every chance to improve his walking, and am aiming to raise £500 ($1000) for any future surgery or aid that will make his life that little bit easier.
Any donation is greatly appreciated.