A 12-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer is hoping to take his first steps after Welly Rec offered to hold a fundraiser for intensive physiotherapy.
The football club is set to hold two fundraising events to raise money for little Ricky Morrow, who was also born with epilepsy and learning difficulties.
Friends and family of the Roddensvale pupil, who is unable to stand up unassisted, are hoping to raise money to enable Ricky to continue with his specialist private physiotherapy treatment, which is unavailable on the NHS.
His mum Charlene explained: “Ricky was born quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, he can’t walk at all or stand unaided and he needs 24/7 care.
“They think he had a stroke while he was in the womb and another at three years old, as he lost his ability to speak then.
“Sometimes he suffers from muscle stiffness, and at other times from muscle floppiness.
“He has a walker, which is a frame which supports him as he tries to strengthen his back muscles as it is a trait of the illness that the back muscles are weak.”
Ricky receives half an hour of physiotherapy and the services of an occupational therapist at school, and also visits the Donkey Sanctuary during the year to improve his balance and interact with the animals.
Last June, his family took him to the private Centre for Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Medicine Ltd in Newry to receive more intensive treatment.
“The centre provides really intensive therapy for an hour and a half every week which costs £75,” Charlene continued.
“They work on Ricky’s muscles and he uses a cage which holds him up straight and then he goes onto a treadmill where we move his legs. This helps his arms and legs and means they won’t start to curve, as can happen with his condition.
“The aim is to strengthen Ricky’s back muscles so that maybe he will eventually be able to take a few steps.”
Charlene says she noticed an improvement in her son’s condition within a few months of treatment at the facility.
“Within eight months they had enabled him to sit for 16 minutes unaided,” she said proudly.
“It will take a few years to see more improvement as it is a very slow process.
“Since he started his treatment he has been more attentive, he has made more eye contact, you notice the neurological benefits as well.
“The doctor says he might eventually walk unaided or with a walking aid.”
Welly Rec will hold an evening with the band Fusion on April 23, followed by an evening with psychic medium Angela Dunlop and a disco with Brian Hastings Entertainment on May 28.
The fundraisers are the latest kind-hearted gestures by the Millbrook Community to support Ricky’s treatment.
“Even though we now live in Boyne Square, the Millbrook community have continued to help us,” Charlene stated.
“There was a disco in Welly Rec, a fun run, and a craft fair in Millbrook Hall.
“These events helped raise £700 to provide a special car seat for Ricky to help him sit higher and hold his weight better, and he got a £380 “tumble” plastic wedge which he can sit on, lift up his head and strengthen his back.
“Everyone has been very generous and Ricky is now well-known around Millbrook, he has become a wee celebrity!”
Tickets to the event with Fusion on April 23 cost £5 and are available from Welly Rec or by contacting Shirley McCalmont or Emma Magill on Facebook.
On May 28, the psychic medium will be on stage from 8pm-10pm, followed by a disco and late bar from 10pm until late. Entry for the whole evening is £10 or £5 for the disco only. Tickets available from Welly Rec or Shirley McCalmont. Raffles will be held at both events in aid of Ricky’s treatment.