AMPUTEE Callum Cuthbertson is proving a real inspiration.
The eight-year-old has endured countless hospital visits after being born with blood clots in both arms, resulting in his left arm being amputated below the elbow.
Earlier this year he had to wear a cage-like brace, known as an external fixator, on his right arm in a bid to straighten the bone.
But the Plains Farm youngster refuses to be beaten, learning how to skip, tie his shoe-laces and play his favourite computer games one-handed.
So impressed have nurses been by Callum’s abilities, they’ve said they’d like the Thorney Close School pupil to help show other young amputees what he’s learnt.
Proud dad Andy, 31, said: “Now and again it gets Callum down when people stare, but we always tell him it’s because he is so gorgeous.
“He shocked someone once when they asked him what happened to his arm. He simply replied ‘a crocodile bit it off’.
“I tell him all the time that when I grow up I want to be as brave as him.”
It’s thought Callum may have suffered a rare complication at birth, suffering blood clots as a result of mum Jane’s diabetes.
At just 10 weeks old, Callum had life-saving surgery at Sunderland Royal Hospital to remove his arm.
But they never imagined he would grow up to take everything that’s thrown at him in his stride.
Andy, who is also dad to Georgia, 11, Reece, nine and Grace, six, said: “He is our little hero. His brother and sisters are amazed by him, as is everybody.
“When he had his first operation we thought it was the end of the world, but to look at him now I don’t know what we were worried about.
“When he had his external fixator fitted this year, he was singing before the operation and all the doctors and nurses commented on his character and strength. He goes through to the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, for his prosthetic and the orthopaedic nurse says she’s amazed by what he can do with his left arm and that if a child was struggling, would we mind introducing them to Callum to show what he has achieved?”
In recognition of Callum’s determination his parents have nominated him for a Child of Courage trophy in this year’s Pride of Wearside awards.
Andy said: “We don’t usually put him in the limelight, but we felt like he deserved recognition for everything he’s been through.”
Nominate your hero
NOW in its seventh year, the Pride of Wearside is a chance to give our city’s unsung heroes the recognition they deserve.
There are 11 categories to enter.
They are Child of Achievement, Community Champion, Child of Courage, Safer Community, Sporting Achievement, Student of the Year, Community Group, Fundraiser of the Year, Local Hero, Local Force Hero and Green Champion.
The deadline for entries has been extended to November 9.
Winners will receive their awards at a ceremony at the Stadium of Light, on November 21.
To make a nomination in the Pride of Wearside 2012 or CLICK HERE to enter online