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SpecialEffect News

SpecialEffect News

03 Jul 2020

“Keep moving forward, 'cos that’s what heroes do!”

Samuel's running resilience and fundraising have captured the hearts of everyone here at SpecialEffect, and we can’t thank him and his family enough for the story that unfolded during a June weekend.

Samuel, who’s nearly nine, had a stroke when he was three days old that destroyed nearly all of the right side of his brain. He’s since had major brain surgery that’s left him with very little use of his right arm and a weakness of his right leg. He has walking aids and a wheelchair.

‘Just like any young boy he’s discovering computers and games,’ wrote his mother Charlotte. ‘He wants to be able to play like his friends, but computer games are designed to be played with two hands making it virtually impossible for him to take part.’

‘As a result he sits and watches others play.’

Boy playing computer gameThe family contacted our specialist assessment team to see if we could help, and we asked them to send us videos of Samuel’s movements so that we could gain a more detailed picture of his abilities. We’re currently using online support as an alternative to in-person visits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so following a subsequent video assessment call we sent him a selection of carefully-chosen equipment from our extensive tech loan library. This custom setup included two switches for foot operation, plus mounting accessories that hold the controller securely in the right position, so that he doesn’t have to.

The image shows Samuel playing FIFA in two button mode.

We hadn’t realised that the family was planning a thank you until a JustGiving fundraising page appeared.

‘Samuel is running 9km (1km for each year he has survived) for SpecialEffect because they have enabled Samuel to play like his friends.’ it began. ‘He has been practicing his running and walking throughout lockdown so I am confident he will do this. He is a very determined boy.’

So on a warm June Sunday, buoyed by good luck messages from famous sporting faces including Sir Mo Farah, Samuel set off from home with his father, who himself has had to relearn how to walk after severe leg injuries a couple of years ago.

“It was tough towards the end,” said his Charlotte, “but hundreds of supporters cheered him on for the final two kilometres.”

Just over three hours after they began, and applauded by friends and family, there were jubilant scenes as they crossed the finish line. So far his heroics have raised over £5000!

The family had kept back our loan equipment as a surprise for Samuel after his run, and he was overjoyed. “He played FIFA… for the first time and it was amazing to see him so happy,” said Charlotte.

It’s for people like Samuel that we’re working so hard, but we couldn’t have helped him – or offer help in the future - without your (or his!) magnificent support. So when tiredness hits during your run on Sunday, we can’t think of a better inspiration to keep going.

“He’s such a positive happy boy,” said Charlotte. “His motto is, and I quote, ‘Keep moving forward, because that’s what heroes do!’”

Ps: There’s a fabulous write-up of Samuel’s run on the Henley Herald website!

 

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