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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Cumbrian boy reaches milestone family never thought he'd see

Around 60 people will tomorrow celebrate the second birthday of a boy whose parents were told was unlikely to survive being born.

Noah Wall photo
Special day: Noah Wall with some of his soft toys which his family donated to the Phillipines last month, ahead of his birthday

Little Noah Wall was diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus in the womb and born with just two per cent of his brain working.

He marked the milestone on Thursday, but official celebrations take place with a party at the family home in Abbeytown tomorrow.

Mum Shelly said they had been overwhelmed by how many people supported the brave tot, who, despite his condition, has made “incredible” progress.

Last year, he even began “standing” for the first time, strapped into a special frame provided by hospital staff to build up the strength in his hips, knees and feet.

She said tomorrow’s event was partly a thank you to everyone who has helped Noah and the family. Last year, the community rallied round when television programme DIY SOS worked to transform their home to make it more accessible.

Volunteers worked to get the job done and Shelly said many had kept in touch with the family since.

“They ring us up and text us, which is lovely,” she said. “They don’t need to do that but they do. We’ve also got a little girl who was in intensive care with Noah coming across from Newcastle, and the mayor of Silloth is coming. Everyone has been so supportive.”

She said Noah was making incredible progress. “We’ve just started potty training, which, for a baby paralysed from the chest down, is incredible,” she said. “Everyone is blown away by how well he is doing.”

Noah’s birthday on Thursday was marked with a virtual party on Facebook and Twitter as part of Shelly’s drive to raise awareness of spina bifida and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain. She started a Hugs For Noah awareness campaign on his first birthday.

She said the virtual birthday party had “gone crazy” on Twitter, helped by Duncan Bannatyne.

“Raising awareness of his condition is my number one priority. I’m talking to people all over the world, even Indonesia, where there’s a boy called Bertie who has a massive head due to hydrocephalus.”

VBrenan@cngroup.co.uk

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