VIDEO: Joy for Leo Palmer as trike puts him on road to freedom

A young boy can finally play out with his friends – thanks to the success of a campaign by the Bells and his mum and dad.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10th October 2014, 11:05 am
Leo Palmer, three, of Epworth on his new trike with (l-r) his physio Daniel Woods, Leesa Sharpe, Siobhan Edge, Casey Edge, 10, and Rick Palmer. Picture: Andrew Roe
Leo Palmer, three, of Epworth on his new trike with (l-r) his physio Daniel Woods, Leesa Sharpe, Siobhan Edge, Casey Edge, 10, and Rick Palmer. Picture: Andrew Roe

Leo Palmer, aged three, of Birchfield Road, Epworth, has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which means he is unable to walk or run as his friends do.

But that is set to change after his mum and dad were finally able to get him a specially customised tricycle following a long campaign to raise £5,000 to buy it.

The trike has given him some freedom of movement outdoors.

Leo Palmer, three, of Epworth on his new trike with (l-r) his physio Daniel Woods, Leesa Sharpe, Siobhan Edge, Casey Edge, 10, and Rick Palmer. Picture: Andrew Roe

The specialist trike provides Leo with the full body support he needs to be kept safely in place while he rides.

Leo’s parents, Siobhan Edge, 27, and Richard Palmer, 29, set about raising the money they needed last summer by holding a variety of fund-raising events, and they were overwhelmed by the support which came from their local community and their family and friends, and from a series of stories in the Bells

Siobhan said: “I thought about doing fund-raising days, but I didn’t think anybody would want to help. It was Leesa Sharpe, a family friend, who convinced me and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we have received. It’s enabled us to do something we never expected.”

One fundraising day in August, which was attended by Sheridan Smith’s parents, raised £2,500.

Richard has also taken part in a sponsored bike ride with Leo’s grandad, rasing £2,000, and Siobhan has also taken part in a sponsored skydive, raising around £1,000.

More money has come from kind-hearted people who have been touched by Leo’s story, one anonymous person gave £1,500.

The money which was not spent on the trike will be used to pay for Leo’s private physiotherapy and other items that he may need in the future.

Leo’s parents first saw the trike on especialneeds.com, a website that sells adaptive equipment and therapy solutions for a range of needs. It was their daughter, Casey, aged 10, who insisted that her little brother needed a new set of wheels.

“Casey used to get upset that she couldn’t play outside with Leo. She used to be able to carry him around, but he’s too big for that now. We were looking at the website for knives and forks when she saw the trike and asked if Leo could have one. She’s so happy now she can play with him,” said Siobhan.

She said the trike has made a huge difference to Leo, a pupil at Belton Church of England Primary School nursery.

“He absolutely loves it. It brings a tear to my eye to see him out there playing with his sister and their friends and not just sat watching them. It was really upsetting when he used to have to sit inside, every little boy deserves a bike.

“It’s given him the independence he deserves, and it also gives him exercise and helps with his therapy.

“He wants to sit on it all the time. When he first got it, he even wanted to sleep on it. When we try to get him to come inside he screams and says he won’t move on it, he just wants to sit on it.”

The tot continues to defy the odds, having already started talking earlier this year, something doctors told Siobhan and Richard would never happen.

Now, after five weeks of private physiotherapy sessions with Daniel Woods, Leo has been able to sit up on his own.

Siobhan is extremely proud of her son, who is determined to walk.

“He always says to me one day I’ll walk, mummy,” she said.

The next fundraising event is a sponsored fishing match at Lindholme Lake on Saturday.