A DREAM which once seemed impossible came true for birthday boy Mitchell Spencer.
The youngster who has cerebral palsy celebrated his 11th birthday yesterday and got the present he had wanted all his life – a bike.
For years, Mitchell, who was recently given Child of Courage award at the Mail’s Pride of Hartlepool awards, feared he may never ride a normal bike after a lifetime of health problems.
But six months ago, he had two operations in the USA to help him walk better and his progress since he returned home from that life-changing surgery has been amazing.
As a birthday treat, parents Deborah, 45, and Phil, 43, from Creswell Court in Hartlepool, bought him a gleaming BMX bike and he took a first tentative pedal as he learns how to ride it.
The present was waiting for him as he excitedly woke early yesterday before heading off to school at West Park Primary.
Deborah said: “His ultimate aim, through all of his problems, has been to ride a normal bike, but he has never been able to.
“He has had a three-wheeler trike before, but he grew out of that.”
Mitchell’s USA surgery became a reality thanks to a £50,000 fundraising campaign supported by dozens of people throughout Hartlepool and the North-East.
He headed out to the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri last October for his first operation which involved surgeons cutting the nerves in his legs which were sending faulty messages to his muscles, leaving the remaining nerves intact.
Days later, he had more surgery at the hospital to lengthen his heel cords and hamstrings.
Deborah recalled: “When Mitchell was in the USA, he used to love cycling down the hospital corridors in this big disabled bike with us running after him and his physiotherapist by his side.
“That was the motivation for him to be able to do this on his own.”
Even at Christmas last year, the youngster was not able to get on a bike, but his development and strength since then has meant his dream has become reality.