Trike force – stars raise funds to help young Toby
STARS from the stage and screen took part in a charity event to raise funds for a specialist trike for a boy with cerebral palsy.
Former Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs – who played Mike Baldwin in the soap – and comedian Eddie Large supported the charity event organised by the Variety Club South West to raise money for a trike costing around £2,500 for five-year-old Toby Callaghan.
Toby, who lives in Portishead with mum Sarah, dad Nigel and brother Joshua, nine, was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was just three months old.
He was fitted with a hearing aid in his left ear and when he was two had a cochlear implant fitted in his right ear to help him hear.
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Before Toby was one, Sarah and Nigel realised he wasn't developing like other children and further tests confirmed that Toby had cerebral palsy, affecting all his limbs.
The condition was caused because Sarah caught the congential cytomegalovirus (CMV) when she was pregnant – a virus that causes problems in one in 150 children.
Seventeen per cent of children born to mothers with the CMV virus have cerebral palsy.
Sarah, 42, a financial administrator, said: "I knew this was what Toby had.
"Then when Toby was one we had it confirmed that he had cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs. We were heartbroken. Not only was our youngest son deaf he also had cerebral palsy. We knew his world and ours as a family would never be the same again."
As a result of his condition, Toby cannot sit, stand or talk and needs round-the-clock care.
Sarah added: "Although he cannot do things like other children he can roll onto his front and he laughs at funny things and loves being with others and tries to join in with everything, though this is very difficult for him.
"But the best thing ever is the beautiful smiles that he gives you."
Toby attends Baytree School in Weston-super-Mare where he uses a special buggy to get around.
He also has regular physiotherapy to help with his condition.
Mum Sarah said the new Tomcat trike will give Toby a new lease of life and mean he can go out on trips with the rest of the family.
The trike has a special bar so it can be controlled and has straps which secure Toby to it to ensure he is safe.
She said: "Toby trialled the bike and absolutely loved it.
"We would have loved to have bought it but it would have taken us so long to raise the money.
"A friend of mine has a contact in the Variety Club which when they heard about Toby wanted to help raise money to buy it.
"We are so grateful as it is not something we could easily afford.
"The trike will mean that we will be able to go out as a family and he will be able to have fun with his brother Josh.
"I just know it will give him so much pleasure and a new lease of life and real freedom."
The fundraising event, hosted by Eddie Large, was held at the Bristol Marriott Royal where singer and Rod Stewart tribute act Dave Hook performed.
All money raised from the event is going towards the trike.