Ashridge staff take on half-marathon run to help four-year-old Noah learn to walk

Ashridge workers will be running a half-marathon to try and raise money for an operation to help Noah Collins learn to walk.
Ashridge workers will be running a half-marathon to try and raise money for an operation to help Noah Collins learn to walk.

More than 30 work colleagues will be taking part in a half-marathon to help fund the £80,000 operation needed to help a little boy learn to walk.

Noah Collins is nearly five years old, but still has to crawl around as he is unable to stand or walk unaided.

Noah Collins.

Noah Collins.

He can take a few steps with the aid of a walking frame – but parents Jeanette and David have to be close at hand in case he takes a tumble.

IT worker David said: “He’s very young, so it’s his way of life. He doesn’t know any different. He’s a perfectly intelligent and happy little boy.

“If you were sitting at a table next to him and other children, you wouldn’t necessarily know he was any different to them.

“You would only find out when the children say: ‘Let’s get up and go and play,’ and you realise he can’t.

“It has never phased him, but he’s getting to the age where other children are starting to get up and do things that he can’t do.

“But we have always tried to help him do the same things other children do, like we help him bounce on a bouncy castle with them.”

Noah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy not long after he was born prematurely. If he doesn’t receive help, he could be permanently confined to a wheelchair by his mid-teens as his body becomes heavier.

He has been accepted for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) treatment in Missouri, USA, from the best doctor at conducting the procedure in the world.

The operation will involve identifying and cutting the nerves in his spine that now send incorrect signals to his brain, causing the spasticity in his legs.

But the treatment will cost £80,000 – so his dad’s colleagues at Ashridge Business School will run the Shakespeare Half Marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon to help his family raise the money.

The event on Sunday, April 27, is just three days before Noah’s fifth birthday.

David said: “He’s a very happy, bright and lovable child. He has got great character and people warm to him. He’s that sort of child. He has got a smile that lights up a room and he enjoys himself and he enjoys life.”

Colleague and half marathon racer Kelly Ashton, 51, of Water End Road, Potten End, is the mother of autism sufferer Albie, 17.

He has been going to a specialist school in Thatcham, Berkshire, since the 2011 closure of Hemel Hempstead’s Woolmer Drive respite centre for children with learning disabilities.

She said: “As I have got a disabled son, my heart went out to David. I immediately thought: ‘We have got to do something about this.’”

And her son Patrick, 19, trainee gardener at Ashridge Business School, thought the same. Kelly said: “We are both training hard but will run very different races.”

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You can learn more about Noah’s condition by clicking here