BRAVE five-year-old Liam Straughan has thanked readers for backing the Echo campaign to help him walk.
The youngster said he is grateful for donations to the £30,000 cost of an operation, which will help him realise his dream of running like his friends.
Liam, brother to Jess, two, suffers from cerebral palsy, and is hoping to have surgery which will stop the nerves in his spine from sending the wrong signals to his legs, meaning he will be able to walk unaided for the first time in his life.
“It’s really nice of everyone to give me the money,” said the lad, who wears supportive leg splints and uses a walking frame.
“I’m looking forward to getting the operation so I can run.”
Happy little Liam, for whom walking is like a “marathon”, also has the backing of his school, Dubmire Primary.
“My friends want to help me, and they brought money into school so we could have a party and wear our own clothes,” he said.
“One of my friends said he wished for his birthday that I could get my operation.”
Liam, who likes drawing, said he is looking forward to playing football and jumping about once he has had the surgery, hopefully by January.
His plight has touched the hearts of many since the Echo campaign began on Monday.
Thomas Patchett, 78, of Barnes, sent Liam’s parents, Rachel, 35, and Neil Straughan, 39, a cheque for £200.
“It is tragic,” said Thomas, whose wife, Moira, 81, also contributed towards the donation.
“We were thrilled to help, and have given as much as we can.
“It’s sad how much he is struggling at the moment.”
The parents of four, grandparents of four, and great-grandparents of one said it is the biggest donation to charity that they have ever made.
The fund-raising total on Rachel and Neil’s Just Giving page – A Life Change for Liam – has reached more than £14,000 of their £30,000 target – almost half-way – from 164 pledges.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/alifechangeforliam, or text LIAM65 to 70070.
Cheques can be posted to Help Liam Walk, Echo House, Pennywell, Sunderland SR4 9ER.