Newfound love of football proves 'life changing' for Sheffield boy, 10, with rare condition
and live on Freeview channel 276
Year 6 student Ronald Raymond, aged 10, is one of the faces of the hospital's ‘5 for Theo’ challenge.
Launched by England Lioness footballer and hospital patron Esme Morgan, and backed by Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan, the challenge asks supporters to try five keepy-uppies, nominate five friends, and donate £5 to the hospital.
To show their support for Ronald and the good cause, every pupil at Westways got involved in the keepy-uppy challenge as part of their PE lessons.
Ronald, who has the rare connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danos Syndrome, was diagnosed with autism when he was three-and-a-half and with hypermobility, aged four.
The condition means his joints have an unusually large range of movement, which can cause pain, regular spraining or dislocating of limbs - and 18 months ago while playing in the garden he tore all the ligaments in his knee.
To recover, he needed intensive physiotherapy - especially difficult because of his hypermobility - so he was invited to join Ryegate's football club, a project to involve patients in sport as rehab.
Ronald fell in love with football and, following the sessions, the physiotherapy team at Ryegate Children's Centre - the neurodisability service at Sheffield Children's Hospital - helped him join a team at Sheffield Wednesday which he still attends every week. He has also joined disability team the Sheffield Hornets and been picked to play in their league.
Ronald's mum Christina, 39, from Stocksbridge, a hairdresser at the Ph2 salon in Crookes, described his newfound love of football as 'life changing'.
“Ironically his injury was one more usually seen in footballers than children, and the surgery is not one usually performed on young children,” she said. “They have since done case studies on him because it was so rare.
“The care has been incredible. I don't know what we would have done without the team. It can be really scary at times, and they are just there for you. Westways have been so supportive too.”
Westways headteacher Charles Hollamby said: “At Westways we are always keen to get involved in raising money for great causes, especially ones like ‘5 for Theo’ that are linked so closely to our community.
“Children across our school were excited to get kicking with the challenge in support of Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who have done so much for Ronald over the years.
"He is an incredible young man and we are so proud of him.
“It was great to see the children having so much fun on the day. We want to thank the Westways community for their support of this fantastic cause.”