VIDEO: Brave Weybridge boy Beau Brown takes first steps
A six-year-old with cerebral palsy has taken his first steps after the community raised £60,000 for an operation in the US.
Beau Brown has lived his life in a wheelchair and it has always been his dream to walk.
His illness has never held him back and he has bravely battled on to live the life of a normal, wrestling-mad boy.
His mother, Theresa Brown, from Weybridge, said she always wanted her son to have the independence that walking would give him.
When she read about ground-breaking spinal surgery at the Children’s Hospital in St Louis, Missouri, she knew she had to find the £60,000 to make it possible.
Choirs, schools, generous individuals and customers from Beau’s father’s Weybridge salon, Browns, all helped boost the fundraising total.
One generous customer gave a massive £15,000 when they heard about Beau’s plight.
The response was so overwhelming, the full amount was raised in less than a year, and in May last year Beau made the journey to America.
Since then he has undergone months of physiotherapy so painful and gruelling his parents used chocolate milk and treats to get him through it.
Last week he made his first steps unaided at Footsteps rehabilitation centre in Oxford.
Mrs Brown said: “I burst into tears. I’ve put it down in the diary as a day I’ll never forget. It’s something for normal kids you take for granted.
“But when they said he’s taken five steps, I was texting everybody I knew.
“It was amazing and it’s something we never thought would happen.”
Beau, who has dreams of being a detective and an announcer with World Wrestling Entertainment, said: “It was fun, but emotional. It was like it was a dream.”
The family never thought they would find the money to have the operation, and at the beginning felt like they were faced with an impossible task.
Matt Brown, Beau’s father, said: “I used to think it was a dog-eat-dog world.
“I can’t believe how generous people have been. It has changed us as people.”
Mrs Brown said: “I think people wanted to give money because it was a little boy that needed help, rather than a huge charity. It was the small amounts from old people that got to me.
“It just meant so much. It’s so touching when someone who has nothing wants to give to your child.”
Mrs Brown, cabin crew with British Airways, tackled a half marathon to raise money for Beau, while Mr Brown held salon days to boost the fundraising total.
Beau’s school, St James’ in Weybridge, also held a cops and robbers day to raise money.
His parents hope to raise more money to continue his physiotherapy for the next two years, while Beau’s big wish is for his friend Jacob at Footsteps to have the same operation that has changed his life.
Beau wanted to thank everybody who helped raise money, as well as his parents and big brother Bailey, who he said always looked out for him.
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