HIS dream was simply to walk, but now doctors are claiming that six-year-old Toby Hakwridge, who has never taken an unaided step in his life, could be running within a year.
The news has given his parents Terry Hawkridge and Kelly Urch massive hope that their dreams of seeing their son walk without the help of a special frame could actually be surpassed.
The family from Hemel Hempstead is currently in America where Toby, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is having revolutionary treatment that will help him walk alone for the first time.
Terry said: “We still can’t believe it.
“Every single day we see massive progress.
“We were originally told in the UK that Toby would never walk, so it’s hard for us to put all our faith into what they say here – but we are hoping for the best and Toby is working very hard.
“I’ve got a funny feeling he might just do it.”
Scores of people in Dacorum helped the family raise more than £60,000 to pay for the youngster to have two life-changing operations at The Children’s Hospital in St Louis.
He has had the first one, which involved specialists severing the nerves in his spine that were sending the wrong signals from his brain to his legs, causing his feet to point downwards.
That procedure was a success and now Toby will be having his second operation, to lengthen his muscles and tendons, tomorrow.
Terry said: “We are doing fabulously as Toby recovered well from his first operation.
“He was up and walking with his frame after five days and then he had 10 days of physiotherapy.
“It is going better than we could have hoped for.”
The next stage of the treatment will see Toby learn how to walk.
Terry said: “His prognosis is that he will be walking without aid in closed environments like home and school within three to six months, and the specialists expect him to be running within a year.”
The family are staying close to the hospital in a hotel and are joined by four or five other UK families whose children have already had good results from the same treatment Toby is having.
Terry said: “It’s such a positive experience.
“We have never been in an environment around a lot of kids with similar problems.
“And we have seen results with other children who have never been out of wheelchairs now walking with frames, so think what is possible for Toby.”