A KIND-HEARTED ‘Father Christmas’ will embark on a 17-mile Christmas Day walk to raise vital funds for a brave Evesham youngster’s life changing operation.
While residents tuck into turkey and treats, Roy Dalby, 53, will be lugging his cart and presents from his home in Redditch to two-year-old Ben Harris-Bell in North Littleton, while dressed as Father Christmas and with two broken ribs.
The youngster lives with mum Emma Bell but suffers from cerebral palsy, which means he cannot walk or crawl yet.
Up to £40,000 is needed to fund treatment at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in America which will sever Ben’s damaged nerves to stop the stiffness and enable specialist physios to teach him how to sit, crawl and walk.
Emma and Mark Harris, Ben’s dad, discovered the dreaded news at Evesham Community Hospital earlier this year despite Emma having her suspicions when he was just nine months old.
Despite admitting she went ‘numb’, the 35-year-old has been upbeat since the diagnosis.
“Ben is happy, he has always been a happy boy,” she told The Observer.
“He has always got a smile on his face whatever challenge he comes up against he always smiles about it.
“We know there are kids worse off than Ben, so we look at the positive sides as there is no other way of looking at it.
“If we don’t get Ben upright his life could be shortened because he will have respiratory problems. He can’t sit unaided and I don’t want him stuck in a high chair all his life.
“I want him to be able to sit on a sofa happily or sit on the floor and play and we can’t do that without the operation.
“It is overwhelming to realise people will put their hand in their own pocket for us.
“No one knows us and people have been giving £20, £30, £50, £100. They’ve never met Ben but it’s amazing to know people still look after local people.”
Roy, who will be joined by his sister Tracey Dalby wearing an elf costume, said: “The fact I can walk 17 miles and that poor little boy can’t walk 17 inches really decided it for me.”
“He is always smiling and it just makes you realise when you are healthy how easy life is.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/bensfirststeps for more information.