Diving ace Tom Daley has stepped in to support a disabled teenager who is dreaming of competing at the next Paralympic Games.
The Herald reported how
15-year-old Ash Jackson, from Plymstock, is determined to become one of the country’s next Paralympians in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Now 10 metre platform diving bronze medallist, Tom, has given his backing.
He has donated a signed
T-shirt to a fundraising event being held to help Ash realise his dream.
Tom said: “I’ve been in contact with Ash via Facebook. This is such a great cause and we could help make his dream come true. It’s a tough journey to get to Rio but I’m sure with the people of Plymouth backing him he will do it. Although I can’t be there I am fully supporting Ash and his dream. Anything’s possible and I’m confident he will make it.”
Ash was born with lower limb arthrogryposis.
The condition leads to a deformity of the legs and spine including a curvature of the spine, talipes – meaning his feet were back to front – a dislocated right hip and a fixed extension of the right knee.
His parents were told that Ash would never walk.
But after 14 operations, nearly one for every year of his life, Ash has defied all the odds and astounded health professionals.
Ash has recently taken up hand cycling with the help of local war hero and ex-Marine Mark Ormrod. He is now trying to raise the £5,500 needed to buy his very own hand cycle - and allow him to try out for Rio.
Ash’s mum Louise has organised a fundraising evening at the end of the month with the help of the Radford Family Centre, a support unit for military families, based in Plymstock.
As well as help from Tom Daley, a host of local businesses have contacted Louise to donate raffle prizes including weekends away, gym memberships and massages.
The youngster has also received cash donations from a number of people who read his story in The Herald.
Joy Littlejohns was one of those who got in contact with Ash and donated £100. She said: “Ash’s story touched a nerve with us and reminded us of certain things. We are also hoping to hold a fundraising event for him in the future. I wish him all the luck in the world. He is such a lovely person and we are glad to be able to help a little bit.”
The fundraising event for Ash’s Ride to Rio takes place on November 30 at the Radford Family Centre from 7.30pm.