Leon Thompson, aged 7 from Codsall, lives with cerebral palsy, global development delay and sensory processing issues as well as being non-verbal. He lives with his mum Kasia, 38, Dad Charlie, 36 and sister Aniela.
Over the last few years, the Thompson family and their supporters have raised over £80,000 for a selective dorsal rhizotomy operation carried out at Alder Hey Hospital in 2018, as well as a lightweight wheelchair, sensory equipment and ongoing physiotherapy.
Some £6,000 of this was raised by local boy Alfie Baugh from Tettenhall, Wolverhampton who was 11 at the time, had heard about Leon and the fundraising effort and wanted to help. He walked from Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool to Molineux, in spite of being taken to hospital with exhaustion and a serious leg injury four days into the walk – borrowing a wheelchair to ensure he could carry on.
The Thompson family are currently raising £1,000 for a new trike for Leon has he has outgrown his previous one with their #DotheDistanceAnyway campaign. They have decided to run 100 miles over two months (in short, socially-distanced sections) to honour Alfie’s achievement and to raise funds for the trike. Things have been made more difficult by Covid 19 and mum Kasia having to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with the virus. In spite of all this, they have almost reached their current target. However, funding for physio and equipment for Leon is constant.
Kasia said: ‘Thanks to an amazing amount of fundraising for Leon, he was able to have SDR surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in October 2018. It went very well and Leon’s quality of life has improved so much that he amazes us with his progress every day.
‘The hard work continues and Leon has physio and speech therapy every week through his school and privately. Our goal for Leon has always been for him to gain a level of independence that will see him be able to do as much as he can on his own. This is a difficult ask of him as his cerebral palsy affects him so much but thanks to the money raised we can provide some assistance with equipment and pay for his ongoing therapy.
‘Alongside these purchases the intensive physio Leon needs is to help to retrain his brain from the years of using his spasticity to move. The difference for Leon is a lifetime of using hoists and assistance to the possibility of him being able to get himself out of his chair!’
The family is appealing for sponsorship – or for people to hold their own events to help them raise funds.
Charity Tree of Hope is supporting the family with their fundraising efforts. Tree of Hope helps families to fundraise for children’s operations, therapies and equipment that are unobtainable via the NHS and provides access to a registered charity providing more effective and efficient ways of fundraising, unlike traditional crowdfunding.
To donate to Leon’s fund, visit https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/leonsfirststeps/
Visit Leon’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com’leonsjourney
For more information about #DotheDistanceAnyway, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/triketrialsteam
For more information, images or to arrange interviews please contact Catherine Cooper on 00 33 5 61 69 57 89, 00 33 6 09 03 55 88 or firstname.lastname@example.org