The family of a Hartlepool youngster who was left paralysed after suffering a rare form of cancer are appealing for funds for a specially-adapted push bike.
Oliver Smart, from Brierton, was left unable to walk after he was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer neuroblastoma, which left him paralysed from the waist down when he was just eight months old.
His parents are organising a fundraising night on November 28 at Stephanie’s Cafe-Bar-Shoppe in Church Street, Hartlepool, from 7pm.
“We are hoping to raise funds for a specially-adapted push bike for Oliver,” said mum Mandy Smart.
“He is not able to use his feet, so it will have pedals on the handlebars.
“The problem is that as he is getting older there are things that he wants to do that other children can do. There are things out there to help, but they come at a price.”
Generous fundraisers, including Hartlepool fabrication company Heerema, clubbed together last year to raise about £2,000 for an electronic quad bike for Oliver.
Now his parents are hoping they may do the same again to help him progress with his mobility.
The Finlay Cooper Fund has offered to help pay for the Tri-Lo Theraplay bike and have asked Oliver’s parents to hold a fundraiser to support the Trust.
Last year, he underwent a four-hour operation at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to remove a large section of a tumour that was putting pressure on the tot’s other vital organs.
Now the three-year-old has more feeling in his legs and can stand up on his own with the aid of special ankle splints.
This is a huge turnaround after doctors said Oliver would never be able to walk unaided, as fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed with the condition each year.
“He is doing really well,” full-time mum Mrs Smart said.
“He had not had many problems for a few months now.
“His last operation was in September 2014 and since then he has been able to feel a lot more and move his legs a lot easier.
“But there is no strength there. We have kept him happy for a long time and we don’t want that to stop.”
The event hosted by bar owner Stephanie Aird, is free to enter and will feature a raffle and Santa
“Around six weeks ago I heard from Oliver’s mum how he needed a bike, and wanted to help,” Ms Aird said.
“I am running Hartlepool’s Got Talent event at the cafe-bar every Friday for four weeks from November 6 with the winner performing at the event for Oliver on November 28.
Donations can be made on the night or in the run-up to the event. So far, we have raised £20.”