A BRAVE boy’s dream to be able to walk and play football with his friends could be made a reality with the help of Standard readers.
Five-year-old Daniel Speed and his family are desperately trying to raise £10,000 to pay for specialist equipment and physiotherapy sessions which could one day help him take his first steps all on his own.
Daniel, who lives in Catshill with his mum Laura, dad Colin and seven-year-old sister Tegan, had a dramatic start in life when he was born 12 weeks early weighing just 2lb 4ozs. Before he turned one his heart stopped beating on three occasions.
When he was 18 months old he was diagnosed with periventricular leukomalacia – a type of cerebral palsy that causes spastic diplegia, mostly affecting his legs.
The condition affects the signals sent from his brain to his muscles – stopping them from working properly. This means they do not get a chance to stretch and grow normally.
Daniel’s mum Laura said when they first found out it was a huge blow as the consultant said he would likely have severe learning difficulties and would not be able to talk or walk.
Although now, through sheer determination, he had proved two thirds of his initial prognosis wrong.
Laura said: “He is a happy, fun loving, cheeky chap who lights up the room with his smile and he can talk for England, in fact he doesn’t stop to take a breath.
“Daniel also attends a mainstream school, Catshill First School, and is currently achieving all academic targets that he has been set.
“He is just a normal little boy on the inside – he just can’t walk.”
He has recently undergone an operation which saw two thirds of his leg nerves in his spinal column cut, all of which did not work.
“This eliminated the vast majority of his spastic diplegia allowing his legs to start building muscles.
The family are now trying to raise the money needed to pay for specialist equipment and intensive physiotherapy sessions Daniel needs to help him walk.
Colin said: “Each little step he takes, which most parents take for granted, is such a big thing for us and it is wonderful.
“He is a tough cookie and smiles throughout everything – it keeps us strong.”
Daniel said: “It is my dream to be able to run around with my big sister and friends at school and play football with the other boys in my class.
“My mum and dad have told me that with lots of hard work this might be possible so they have promised to buy me a football net for my birthday this year so I can practise.”
If they manage to raise any extra money it will be given to the Tree of Hope charity which helps sick children who need specialist care and equipment.
Laura is also doing a 10,000ft sponsored parachute jump in August to raise money.
Visit www.justgiving.com/danielswishtowalk to help Daniel’s wish reality.