LITTLE Lucas Town has beaten meningitis and is on his way to defying a doctor’s diagnosis that he may never walk.
And now the Waterloo toddler has earned his first swimming badge, aged three-years-old.
For his parents Gail and Martin Town, it’s another example of brave Lucas beating the odds after he was born 13 weeks prematurely back in February, 2007.
He fought off meningitis during his 15 weeks in a special care baby unit where, tragically, his twin brother Reuben died when he was just 12 days old after contracting the same disease.
After Lucas developed the condition doctors told his parents that it had caused him to have high muscle tone in his legs, which meant he may never be able to walk without help.
But with the help of weekly physiotherapy sessions and special swimming classes, Lucas is paddling his way to success.
Proud mum Gail said: “With the help of a walker he took his first steps before Christmas and now he’s got a swimming badge.
“He’s quite a remarkable little boy.
“In every other way he’s just like any other three-year-old, but he has a mobility problem which means he cannot walk like everyone else.
“Our main concern after losing his brother was to make sure Lucas was okay, we still had our little boy and we wanted to fight in every way, shape and form to get the best for him.”
Gail has been taking Lucas to the Swimbabes sessions at Inkerman House, Denby Dale, for more than a year.
There he’s been able to learn to swim and, because the water relaxes his legs, it builds up the use of the correct muscles in his legs.
Gail added: “Swimming is really helping with his mobility – being around other children is encouraging him to move in the same way as them and being in the water relaxes his legs, meaning he uses the right muscles.
“He’s just earned his first badge, which is the preliminary level skill.
“It all helps towards him walking – we are hoping for the best.”
Gail added: “He is a playful little boy. Lucas is just like every toddler, he’s really lively, loves to interact and enjoys making new friends.
“His swimming has not only helped with his motor skills, but has helped to develop his social skills too.
“With the problems with the high tone in his legs, it’s important to me he feels confident in water.
“He loves swimming and the walker is really helping him too – now he knows what to do he just wants to race off.”
Lucas attends pre-school at Rowley Lane Junior Infant and Nursery School and Gail and husband Martin, a team leader, hope he will continue his education at the Lepton school.
The family have also received support from the Ellerslie Child Development Centre, based at the Princess Royal Community Centre, Greenhead, which provides support for families who have a child with a disability.
He’s come a long way since February, 2007, when he and Reuben were born at a Nottingham hospital because there were not two high-dependency special care beds in the same hospital available in the Yorkshire area.
He spent 10 weeks there before being transferred to the neonatal unit at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where he stayed for a further five weeks before being allowed home.