A nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and autism says he has been inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s exploits to walk a marathon during the lockdown in a “ginormous challenge”.
Tobias Weller has been dubbed Captain Tobias by friends.
He said he could only manage 50 metres when social distancing measures were first brought in, but he is now covering 750 metres a day outside his home in Sheffield.
Tobias has already started to raise thousands of pounds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces School – his special school in the city – and intends to add thousands more.
He said he was determined to do a sponsored walk in May to help the two charities but this was scuppered by coronavirus.
He said: “Then I heard about Captain Tom and I thought, ‘why don’t I use my walker to complete a marathon by walking up and down my street every day?’
“This is going to be a ginormous challenge for me. A marathon is 42,195 metres but I’m determined to do it.”
Tobias’s mother, Ruth Garbutt, has set up an online appeal to help her son.
Initially, the fundraising target was just £500, but as of Friday afternoon it had raised £4,300.
Tobias said he is determined to continue, inspired by Captain Tom’s sensational fundraising.
Ms Garbutt said: “Tobias is nine years old and is an intelligent, quirky, happy little boy with an amazing sense of humour and level of determination.
“He has cerebral palsy and autism so he faces many challenges on a daily basis. He cannot stand or walk unaided and requires support with most tasks that we usually take for granted.
“At the start of lockdown, with the aid of his walker and with lots of encouragement, Tobias could walk a maximum of 50 metres. He is now walking up to 750 metres each day so that he can fulfil his challenge.”
Ms Garbutt said Tobias visits Sheffield Children’s Hospital regularly and has had several operations there.
“He genuinely enjoys going ‘for a sleepover’ because the staff ensure the whole experience is as positive as possible,” she said.
“He looks forward to using the games and technology that they provide but most of all he looks forward to eating jelly!”
The money raised will help the Children’s Hospital Charity support the hospital through its emergency Covid-19 appeal.
Paces School is a non-maintained special school where the ethos is centred on children being challenged to reach their full potential.
Ms Garbutt said: “We are so lucky that he has place at the school as it’s an amazing place. It is a conductive education school where the focus is on independence, developing movement, function and personality.
“Without this school, Tobias would not have made nearly as much progress as he has done and continues to do so.”
The school is raising money for new buildings through its A New Home for Paces campaign.
Abbie Pervin, regional fundraising manager at the Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to Tobias from everyone at Sheffield Children’s for taking on this amazing challenge.
“He is such an inspirational youngster, wanting to push himself and raise money for his two favourite charities.
“The money he has raised will make a huge difference to the hospital at this difficult time and we wish him the best of luck!”
Captain Tobias’s fundraising page is at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ruth-garbutt-3?utm_term=B2NdR4p66