Four-year-old Ronnie has cerebral palsy, and he has recently become a darling of the internet. His shouts of joy after taking his first steps without splints after an operation has won numerous hearts on the web.
Ronnie Leys from Saffron Walden, Essex was born through emergency c-section and suffered brain damage because of oxygen starvation as his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.
“Ronnie was a late developer with walking and started at age 2 years and 2 months,” the boy’s father Steve told Daily Mail UK. “Since then he has really come on from strength to strength and is a keen sportsperson.”
Learning to Walk Without FallingThe boy’s condition didn’t allow him to walk with stability, and he needed surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) to walk without falling. The expensive surgery wasn’t covered under the country’s National Health Service, so Ronnie’s parents Steve, 31, and Clare, 36, started fundraising in Feb. 2018.
According to Daily Mail UK, Ronnie underwent an operation in October and is currently under an 18-month-long physiotherapy schedule that involves three grueling sessions a week.
The viral video shared by Steve on Twitter shows Ronnie wearing the jersey of his favorite soccer team, Cambridge United. He screams in joy as he walks without splints from one end of the room to the other.
Ronnie’s Parents are DelightedRonnie’s biggest fan is his two-year-old brother, Frankie who helps his parents take care of his older brother.
“Clare takes him to physio when I’m at work. She’s been by his side as much as anybody throughout his journey,” said Steve.
The doting parents are delighted by Ronnie’s recent improvement.
“Ronnie tried doing a few steps without his splints today, you will see by his reaction what it meant to him & what a little fighter he really is. We are all bursting with pride for our inspirational son,” Steve tweeted with the video.
Steve and Clare were able to raise around $63,000 in 12 months and are continuing to raise more as Ronnie is undergoing regular physiotherapy and will require more in the future as well.
“It costs approximately £12,000 ($15,700) a year privately; the operation was £24,000 ($31,500),” Steve told Daily Mail UK. Ronnie’s fundraising campaign has also been supported by Just4Children.