The amazing Hartlepool brothers who cycled 25k each for charity - after doctors said they would never walk or talk
Two courageous Hartlepool brothers – who were not expected to live for long after they were born – have completed an astonishing charity bike ride.
James Fewster-Smith, 13, and brother Harry, nine, cycled 25k in seven days around Hartlepool and completed the last section on Sunday to cheers from waiting family and friends.
And what an effort it was from the boys who both have a rare genetic condition called MASA syndrome, which is a neurological disorder.
Both boys have wheelchairs, they both wear splints and adapted shoes as well as special suits for their posture.
But they were determined to raise money to help the Hartlepool Carers and the PFC Trust buy a £50,000 caravan to help young people and carers get a break from their caring role.
Their original target was £500 – but has already reached more than £1,700 on their Just Giving page.
Mum Christine and dad Gavin, 39, watched the brothers daily as they tackled their assisted ride.
At the finish, Christine, 37, said: “We are really proud of the boys achievement. They did find it tough and we worried it may have been too much for them. However once again proved us wrong and battled to the end.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has support them in their challenge and would like to thank everyone for donating and sharing their story.”
Christine previously told the Hartlepool Mail of the boys’ health battles.
“We were told they would never walk, talk, never have an understanding of the world around them, and would not live very long,” said Christine who is also chief executive of Hartlepool Carers as well as being an ultra-proud mum.
At one stage, James had a staggering 18 professionals involved in his care.
The Hartlepool Mail first told of his story when he was a mere three years old.
He spearheaded a Hartlepool Mail campaign that raised more than £10,000 to buy six adapted bikes for the self-funded Parents and Children Together (PACT) group.
His cheerful personality galvanised the Hartlepool public who took James to their hearts and money flooded in for the appeal.
Then, against all the odds, James showed his courage once more when he took his first steps.
Inspirational James became a winner of the Child of Courage category at the annual Best of Hartlepool community awards in 2011.
Mum said at the time: “He is an amazing child and we are so, so proud of him.
"He has been through it all with a smile on his face and has even managed to keep us going through some difficult times.”
Years later, Harry was diagnosed with the same condition as James.
But they have now finished the ride with a finishing tape greeting them as they completed their incredible effort.
Christine added: “It was a mixture of emotions watching them as they were so excited to get through the ribbon. Just to think what they have achieved makes us really proud of them both.”
People can continue to donate to the appeal by visiting here.