Therapy helps Joshua to walk unaided – thanks to public’s help

Joshua Smith who at one time could only walk with the aid of a walking frame

Joshua Smith who at one time could only walk with the aid of a walking frame

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A DISABLED boy is enjoying life-changing physiotherapy, thanks to generous Observer readers.

Eight-year-old Joshua Smith, of Salisbury Road, has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which affects the movement of his legs.

At one time he could only walk with the aid of a walking frame.

But Joshua, who goes to Glyne Gap School in Bexhill, can now walk short distances unaided after undergoing intensive physiotherapy at Footsteps in Oxford, a specialist centre.

The public at large, as well as Joshua’s family and friends, raised more than £2,500 throughout last year to pay for the treatment by holding numerous fundraising events, such as a charity ball in July at Leaford Place, which raised £800 alone.

Joshua also has speech and language difficulties and uses Makaton sign language.

His mum Tracy said: “We would like to say a very big thank you to all the people who helped raise money for Joshua to attend the intensive physiotherapy centre in Oxford.

“A revolutionary therapy and intensive physiotherapy programme has helped him to take his first steps on his own. He was at the centre for three weeks and thoroughly enjoyed the intensive three-hour daily programme.

“His confidence has grown enormously since returning home and he is practising very hard to build up his strength and stamina.

“Joshua can now walk short distances around the house and no longer needs to crawl.

“He needs to attend the centre at regular intervals to maintain his progress and hopefully we will see him make even more.

“Joshua has a dedicated fund set up for this purpose which Observer readers have previously contributed to.”

Jo Lyons, a family friend, who organised a lot of last year’s fundraising events, said: “After people read about Joshua in the Observer we got loads of anonymous cheques from the public, which was absolutely lovely.”

Joshua is undergoing a further three weeks of therapy next month.

Anybody wishing to contribute to the fund can send cheques payable to Joshua Smith Wish List c/o Jo Lyons, 20 Bunting Close, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 8DG.

Or contact Mrs Lyons by emailing jo_lyons1@yahoo.co.uk or ringing 07888657323.