It was every parents’ nightmare.
At the age of only 3 years old, young Toby became completely paralysed from the chest down within just 24 hours, after an illness called ADEM (Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis).
The illness causes widespread inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, it is rare, but can arise as a reaction to a viral or bacterial infection.
Toby’s mum, Becky, admits, ‘It was a very difficult time, hearing the news, learning to adapt, there was just so much to take in’.
It was a year later, that 4 year old Toby and his family arrived at the doors of Stoke Mandeville Stadium to enquire about WheelPower’s disability sporting activities.
It was clear that Toby was a determined boy, and his parents were just as supportive of his view to seek motivation and achievement, and wanted him to set his sights high to reach his potential and continue to thrive, despite his now permanent condition.
‘If it wasn’t for WheelPower, I don’t know how Toby would have been able to substantiate his complete love of sports, WheelPower truly makes all the difference’
Toby participated in his first WheelPower sports activity at the age of 6 years old and has not looked back since!
Unlike at school, where Toby has to sit out at some P.E games and /or take part in a different customised sports activity on his own, WheelPower throws him in team games on the same level as everybody else.
‘There’s no discrimination, I’m not made to feel different to anybody else just because I have wheels. If I’m having a bad grumpy day, being here at WheelPower, getting stuck in to all their sporting activities, gives me a massive boost!’, says Toby.
Toby dreams about representing the UK at the Paralympics one day.
He enjoys wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball, riding his horse Silvesta (yes he rides a horse!), and taking part in triathalons.
Top on his list right now is learning to play snooker and pool, which is yet another challenge that he is relishing.
As Toby’s story shows, determination can get you to where you want to be, and that goes for whether your legs work or not. You don’t have to be walking around to take part, a good pair of wheels can put you on the fast track to success.
If you would like to donate to this amazing charity, please visit: https://www.wheelpower.org.uk/donate