Boy, 9, with cerebral palsy completes 26 mile challenge raising £38K

Boy, 9, with cerebral palsy who could only walk 50m a day before lockdown completes 26 mile challenge over a month and is dubbed ‘Captain Tobias’ after raising £38,000 for the NHS – inspired by Colonel Tom Moore

  • Tobias Weller from Sheffield planned to walk 1km in his local park to raise money
  • Now walking 750m daily, has raised nearly £38,000 for local hospital and school
  • Appeared on This Morning with mum Ruth Garbutt to speak about achievement  

A nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who could only walk 50m a day with a frame before lockdown has completed an incredible 26-mile marathon challenge, inspired by WWII veteran Colonel Tom Moore.

Tobias Weller, from Sheffield, planned to walk just 1km to raise money for his local school and hospital after being inspired by the 100-year-old who raised more than £30million for the NHS by doing daily laps of his garden. 

Now the schoolboy, dubbed ‘Captain Tobias’, has been walking 750m every day since March 21, and has raised £37,902 so far – with his neighbours coming out to applaud him as he completes his laps. 

He appeared on This Morning today with his mother Ruth Garbutt, who said she was ‘bursting with pride’ for her son, whose ‘confidence and self belief’ has increased massively while undertaking the challenge.  

Tobias Weller, from Sheffield, appeared on This Morning with his mother Ruth Garbutt to speak about raising £38,000 for charity 

The schoolboy could only walk 50m a day before lockdown but has now completed a 26-mile marathon challenge 

Speaking of his inspiration Colonel Tom Moore, Ruth explained: ‘We saw him on the TV, and they’re so similar. They both use a walker, they both did the same walk every day and wanting to build it up. He just was desperate to do it.’ 

Tobias added: ‘I love it when I walk up and down my street every day because my neighbours come out and cheer for me – some of them even say, “We salute you Tobias”. 

‘We walk every day whatever the weather, although it’s often sunny. I’ve walked through rain and gale force winds.’

Tobias was ‘really struggling’ to walk 50m before the outbreak of the pandemic, but over time he has increased his ability hugely  – and Ruth admitted it was a ‘massive challenge’ for him. 

World War II veteran Tom Moore raised over £30 million for the NHS doing laps of his garden 

Speaking of his inspiration Captain Tom, pictured walking up and down his garden, Ruth said: ‘We saw him on the TV, and they’re so similar. They both use a walker, they both did the same walk every day’ 

Ruth explained: ‘Tobias has got cerebral palsy, so he’s got a walker to walk and pre-lockdown he was walking a maximum 50m a day and really struggling to do that. 

‘He was finding it hard work. We’ve now built up to 750m per day, most days. So it’s a massive challenge for him.’ 

She went on to explain that after Tobias was unable to receive his regular physiotherapy at school during the crisis, they took to walking down the road as a form of exercise. 

Ruth went on to explain that after Tobias was unable to receive his regular physiotherapy at school during the crisis, they took to walking down the road as a form of exercise

Ruth told how she was ‘bursting with pride’ for her son, whose ‘confidence and self belief’ has increased massively while undertaking the challenge 

Ruth said: ‘When we were first in lockdown we realised we were going to be in for a while – Tobias is vulnerable.

‘Tobias’ school provides physiotherapy for him, so I was going to be responsible for his physio and we needed to walk every day and we needed a routine. 

‘So we started walking every day and he was desperate to do a planned sponsored walk, but we couldn’t do that. 

‘Then we saw Captain Tom on the TV and Tobias said, “Hold on a minute, that’s exactly what I do! I want to raise money, so why don’t I do a sponsored walk?”.’ 

To sponsor Tobias, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ruth-garbutt-3 

What is cerebral palsy and how common is it in the UK?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects a patient’s movement, motor skills and muscle tone.

It is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination and is caused by a problem with the brain that develops before, during or soon after birth. 

It affects around one in 400 children born in the UK to some extent.

In the US, approximately 8,000-to-10,000 infants are born with the condition each year. 

The symptoms of cerebral palsy are not usually obvious just after a baby is born. They normally become noticeable during the first two or three years of a child’s life.

Symptoms can include:

  • delays in reaching development milestones – for example, not sitting by 8 months or not walking by 18 months
  • seeming too stiff or too floppy  
  • weak arms or legs  
  • fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements  
  • random, uncontrolled movements  
  • walking on tiptoes  
  • a range of other problems – such as swallowing difficulties, speaking problems, vision problems and learning disabilities 

The severity of symptoms can vary significantly. Some people only have minor problems, while others may be severely disabled.

Speak to your health visitor or a GP if you have any concerns about your child’s health or development. There’s currently no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments are available to help people with the condition be as active and independent as possible.

Source: NHS 

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