FOOTBALL loving Toby Booker celebrated his seventh birthday on Monday with a special themed cake.
He blew out the candles at home in Havelock Road, Bognor Regis, watched by parents Ian and Jess Booker and brother Harry.
The occasion was also an opportunity to tot up the money raised so far the Help Toby Run With His Friends campaign, supported by the Observer.
Jess said: “Ian has done a count up and our total so far is £16,500. Thank you so much for everything you are doing.”
That amounts to more than 40 per cent of the £40,000 needed to pay for a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation and follow-up care at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Toby has cerebral palsy and has to wear splints. He can walk a little but gets tired easily and as he gets bigger, his legs will not be able to take his weight.
The operation and intensive physiotherapy aftercare will, therefore, be life-changing for Toby and the best age for the treatment is eight years old.
Without it, it is likely Toby will be permanently in a wheelchair when he reaches his 30s and 40s.
Ian said: “We are thrilled at this opportunity for Toby to be able to walk and run like his friends. The NHS only fund a few of these operations at Great Ormond Street.”
As the campaign continues, the family has a host of big events planned for the autumn.
Jess said: “We think things are going to be quiet over the summer break, with only the golf event in Worthing in August. Then in September it is non-stop again with the fun day, fun runs, viaduct walk, West End concert and Ian’s concert.”
The Viaduct Walk, on Sunday, September, 13, between 10am and 4pm, has had a good response since it was launched in the Observer two weeks ago. It gives people the chance to be one of the first to walk across the new viaduct, currently under construction to relieve the traffic between Bognor and Felpham.
More information on all the coming events is available on the campaign website, www.tobybooker.co.uk.
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