He was inspired by WWII veteran Colonel Tom Moore—who raised over $40 million for the U.K.'s National Health Service.
A 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has proven that the sky is the limit when we put our minds to it. Young Tobias Weller, from Sheffield, England, could only walk 50 meters a day with a frame before the coronavirus lockdown came into effect. However, when he heard about WWII veteran Colonel Tom Moore—who raised over $40 million for the U.K.'s National Health Service by walking 100 laps in his backyard garden—he decided that he'd like to do something similar for his local school and hospital. Following in the footsteps of Captain Tom, Tobias has now completed an incredible 26-mile marathon challenge and raised over $50k in the process.
According to Daily Mail, Tobias and his mother, Ruth Garbutt, recently spoke about his impressive achievement during an appearance on This Morning. Gushing about her son, the proud mother said she was "bursting with pride" for him, whose "confidence and self-belief" have increased massively while undertaking the challenge. Explaining how Captain Tom inspired Tobias to take up the challenge, she said: "We saw him on the TV, and they're so similar. They both use a walker, they both did the same walk every day and wanting to build it up. He just was desperate to do it."
"I love it when I walk up and down my street every day because my neighbors come out and cheer for me - some of them even say, 'We salute you, Tobias,'" Tobias added. "We walk every day whatever the weather, although it's often sunny. I've walked through rain and gale-force winds." Ruth revealed that her son really struggled to walk even 50 meters before the coronavirus outbreak and that although his strength and ability has increased quite a bit over time, the challenge was still a huge undertaking for the young boy.
"Tobias has got cerebral palsy, so he's got a walker to walk and pre-lockdown he was walking a maximum 50m a day and really struggling to do that," she explained. "He was finding it hard work. We've now built up to 750m per day, most days. So it's a massive challenge for him." The lockdown has been particularly challenging for Tobias who could no longer receive his regular physiotherapy at school due to the crisis. Instead, he and his mom began walking down the road as a form of exercise, Ruth revealed.
"When we were first in lockdown we realized we were going to be in for a while - Tobias is vulnerable. Tobias' school provides physiotherapy for him, so I was going to be responsible for his physio and we needed to walk every day and we needed a routine," she said. "So we started walking every day and he was desperate to do a planned sponsored walk, but we couldn't do that. Then we saw Captain Tom on the TV and Tobias said, 'Hold on a minute, that's exactly what I do! I want to raise money, so why don't I do a sponsored walk?'"
Tobias' crowdfunding campaign has raised a little over $50k as of Thursday and he plans to donate the money to his two favorite charities, Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces School. "Tobias visits Sheffield Children’s Hospital on a regular basis and has had several operations there. He genuinely enjoys going 'for a sleepover' because the staff ensures the whole experience is as positive as possible. He looks forward to using the games and technology that they provide but most of all he looks forward to eating jelly," the page states.
"Tobias attends Paces School in Sheffield. We are so lucky that he has a place at the school as it’s an amazing place. It is a Conductive Education school where the focus is on independence, developing movement, function, and personality. It is a non-maintained special school where the ethos is centered on children being challenged on a daily basis to strive to reach their full potential," it continues. "Without this school, Tobias would not have made nearly as much progress as he has done and continues to do so. The building that Tobias and his friends are currently in isn’t fit for purpose, so Tobias wants to raise money towards their new fundraising campaign ‘A New Home for Paces’ to provide a new school with the facilities that Tobias and his friends deserve."