An inspirational little Hartlepool boy is defying his medical condition as he takes further steps towards independence.
Alfie Smith, who has cerebral palsy, has achieved yet another milestone on his journey to health by walking into secondary school - with tripods.
The 11-year-old from Holdforth Road, Hartlepool, started High Tunstall College of Science school in September last year and, since then, has been making great progress.
He has swapped his more supportive walking aid, quadsticks, for tripods, which see him work harder.
And mum Annie Stalley said she is so proud of her son’s determination.
She said: “Alfie has started using tripod sticks over the last couple of weeks at school, so he isn’t using quadsticks any more.
“He’s really confident on his tripods now. They make him work harder because of due to the base being smaller so he’s needed more strength and balance to manage on them.”
Alfie underwent life changing surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), in Leeds back in 2017, to reduce stiffness and spasticity to improve movement.
It followed a £50,000 fundraising campaign.
As part of his recovery process he is getting physiotherapy three times a week including swimming and horse riding.
Alfie is now due to go back to Leeds in May for his two year post review.
His local orthopaedic is hoping to send Alfie back to Sheffield for an updated assessment regarding his knees and hamstrings, so Alfie may receive the go-ahead for two further surgeries which would help him to continue to progress.
Mum Annie continued: “I believe Leeds will be ecstatic that Alfie has progressed onto his tripods as they last seen him on quadsticks.
“They didn’t think he would make it onto quadsticks either so he will have now surpassed their expectations twice over.
“I’m also hoping they see he has continued to strengthen up so we can head to Sheffield next.
“He needs two other operations for him to keep progressing or his hamstrings and knees will start to become a problem.”