A courageous little boy who vowed he would one day walk independently is yet another step closer to his dream.
This Christmas will mark Alfie Smith’s second since undergoing life-changing surgery to help him walk.
The eleven-year-old from Holdforth Road, in Hartlepool, was born with cerebral palsy and received selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery in March 2017.
The surgery, which aimed to reduce stiffness and spasticity to improve movement, followed a £50,000 fundraising campaign.
Doctors and physiotherapists thought the youngster would never make it to walking with quadsticks.
But Alfie proved them wrong and is continuing to defy initial expectations as he as he grows in confidence using tripod sticks.
Before the surgery Alife, a Year 7 pupil at High Tunstall College of Science, was heavily reliant on a wheelchair.
But now, less than two years on, Alfie can walk the length of a room using his quadsticks.
Praising his determination, mum Annie Stalley said: “He is still progressing.
“It has not yet been two years since his surgery, so for him to make so much progress in this amount of time is amazing.”
When Alife uses a quadstick it is a four-piece stick, which works to stabilise him, whereas a tripod is just a three-piece stick, which means there is less stability than a quadstick, making walking with it more of a challenge.
Annie continued: “Alfie is so strong and determined.”
“He is 11 now and is growing into a young man.
“He is still progressing and is doing really well using his tripod sticks.
“He is coming on leaps and bounds and is able to walk the length of a room with his quadsticks.
“We are really happy with his progress and the more hard work he puts in, the more we’re hoping it will pay off in the long run.”
Alife is currently undergoing physiotherapy three times a week, he swims twice a week as well as enjoying horse riding to help improve his condition.
He is also undergoing physiotherapy at home and practices with his tripods.
Annie added: “There are days when he is a bit tired, but it is all about building up stamina.”