A seven-year-old boy who was told he would never walk is preparing to climb Ben Nevis this weekend.
Caeden Thomson was born 12 weeks early and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
His parents were told he would never sit, walk or talk.
But Caeden, from Corby, Northamptonshire, is now preparing to take on the 4413ft Scottish mountain for charity.
He hopes to raise £8000 for disability equality charity Scope and his local NHS.
Since he was born, Caeden has undergone many hours of physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and hydrotherapy.
His mother Lisa said: “Caeden’s life began with huge struggle, stress and a feeling of the unknown and he was very lucky to have had all the help and support he got.
“He is a very happy boy who tries his very best not to let his disability stop him from keeping up with his two older siblings and his friends.
“He told us that he is so lucky for all the things he has had in his life that he wants to give back.”
The family were originally due to tackle the mountain challenge in May, but had to postpone due to the pandemic.
Since then, they have been fundraising locally and have raised £2000 towards their £8000 target.
Ben Nevis was chosen because it is a “real physical challenge”, Mrs Thomson said, adding: “It will be positively physical, as it will do his muscles good to walk.
“But he wants to be able to inspire and empower others that just because you’ve got a physical disability doesn’t mean you’re not capable.”
Caeden said: “I was born very early and it makes it difficult to walk so I have to use a stick.
“I am getting really excited about the walk. I think it is going to be a bit hard but I am going to try my best. My mum, dad and family are all doing it.
“I think it’ll take about 10 hours so we will start early in the morning. I think the hardest bit will be walking down again.”
Caeden has been training hard ahead of the climb, including physiotherapy sessions to prepare him.
Mrs Thomson said: “We are super, super proud of him. I don’t think I could be any more proud.
“He’s always happy and pushing himself. Obviously, he does have moments where he’s telling us he’s struggling, but that’s where obviously friends and family and support comes in and the encouragement of ‘you can do it Caeden’.”
Lawrence Orr, head of public fundraising at Scope, said: “Caeden is an inspiration. This is a huge challenge for any seven-year-old to take on and we are so incredibly proud that Caeden and his family are choosing to support Scope in this way.
“Congratulations to him and his family for all the hard work that has gone into the training so far and we wish him the best of luck for this coming weekend.”
Donations towards Caeden’s challenge can be made on his JustGiving page.
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