A young boy will take part in his first running event to raise funds for an operation which would prevent him becoming wheelchair bound.
4-year-old Jace Webberley, from Somerset, was born with diplegic cerebral palsy that affects his movement and co-ordination, but is determined to run the Simplyhealth Great Mini South Run on Saturday 20 October.
The condition causes Jace's leg muscles to get very stiff and tight due to the spasticity and he can't walk or stand unaided, requiring a Kaye Walker to get around.
Jace requires physiotherapy at least three times a day to keep his muscles as loose as possible and to prevent them becoming painful. He also needs to use a wheelchair when his legs get too tired, even though Jace doesn't like that. Unfortunately as he gets older, it will just get worse until he is wheelchair bound.
Unfortunately there is no cure for cerebral palsy but Jace could have a life changing operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy which would allow him to stand and walk unaided.
The operation involves cutting nerves in the lower spine to reduce spasticity. After operation there is a two-year recovery period, where Jace will need intensive physiotherapy at least three times a week to build his strength back up and re-train his muscles.
The family is aiming to raise £40,000 by October 2019 for the operation and after care.
Jace will take part in the 1.5k race in Portsmouth on Saturday 20 October to help raise funds for his operation.
He will be accompanied by his mum Louisa, 25, who will help him to get over the finish line if he gets tired.
She said: “Jace is a very independent little boy who doesn't let anything get in his way, always finding a way to get where he wants.
“Although I know Jace will probably smash the 1 mile, I won't let him tire himself or get himself in a position where his legs are painful. If I feel he is struggling, I will be carrying or pushing him in his wheelchair the rest of the way.”
Jace's dad Tony will be running the Simplyhealth Great South Run the following day to raise more funds for his son's operation.
Louisa continued: “I am excited for Jace and will be there with him every step of the way!
“He can't wait for the race as he wants to ‘run like Daddy'.”
The Simplyhealth Junior & Mini Great South Run returns to Portsmouth on Saturday 20 October, with almost 2,000 budding athletes, school friends and families taking on the 1.5k and 2.5k courses, which start and finish on Clarence Esplanade in Southsea.
It's part of a great weekend of sport in the city, which includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the South's biggest running event, the Simplyhealth Great South Run, which will see over 20,000 people running in aid of fun, fitness and fundraising on Sunday 21 October.
For more information about the event, visit: Greatrun.org/South
To support Jace and his fundraising campaign click here