A 12-YEAR-old boy from Abergele with cerebral palsy has raised more than £1,500 for a charity helping those with conditions similar to his by completing a star jump challenge during November.

Ryan Cowdell was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged three, and has since undergone 16 operations after initially being told he would not be able to run, walk or swim like his peers.

Last month, he took part in a nationwide star jumping challenge, which saw him complete 3,000 (100 a day), raising £1,510 for Cerebral Palsy Cymru (CPC) in the process.

Helped by his sister Annie, 10, the amount of money raised far surpassed Ryan’s initial target of £150.

His mother, Leanne, said: “He’s always wanted to raise money, so when this came up, he said: ‘I’ve just got to do it, because there are so many children out there like me.’

“We were told that he would probably never walk or swim and would be behind a lot of his peers. I gave up work and thought: ‘I’m not having that, so he’s had numerous operations which is still ongoing now.

“He was born with his legs completely twisted, so he’s had operations to twist them so that they’re forwards, and he used to walk on his tiptoes, so he’s had an operation that enables him to walk flat like the rest of his peers.

“He’s just unbelievable. He’s got such determination; nothing fazes him at all. He never says: ‘I’ve got a disability; I can’t do this.”

Ryan, who also relies on the assistance of a wheelchair and crutches, has taken on the challenge in a number of different locations, such as Gwrych Castle in Abergele and at his school, Ysgol Y Creuddyn in Penrhyn Bay.

Leanne added how supportive his school have been, with backing from both teachers and friends, who have been able to see first-hand just how much effort he has to put into completing the challenge.

She said: “All of his friends take him under their wing, but he’s not one to rely on his friends. He’s rly independent and doesn’t let anything get in his way at all. If he wants to do something, he’s determined to go and do it.

“To do the challenge, we knew it was going to be massive because even 20 to him is a lot.

“All of the school have backed him; we’ve had loads of sponsors from his teachers, they’ve been totally supportive, to the point where the PE teacher said: ‘Let’s get all of his class involved in the star jumps in the PE class’.

“They made a comment that they didn’t realise how tiring 100 star jumps can be, so it made some of his friends realise how much of a good thing he was doing.

“There was a challenge on the page where you had to do the star jumps in different places, so Ryan’s been down to the rugby, doing it down in the stadium, and in front of Gwrych Castle.”

CPC, the recipients of the £1,510, is a national organisation helping families in Wales who have children with cerebral palsy.

Its work includes a family support service, while its specialist team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists are also on hand to help every child and family benefit from its help.

Leanne added: “The money is going to CPC itself and then they use it for whatever they need it for; like sessions for children who need the physio side of things, sessions for the people from CPC supporting parents like myself.

“A lot of Ryan’s problems at the time were very much: ‘Why me, why am I like this and my friends aren’t?’ It’s nice to know that that service (CPC) is there for anyone who may need them.”

For more on CPC, visit: www.cerebralpalsycymru.org.