Thursday, 26 May 2022
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Thursday, 26 May 2022

Children Today: How a gym kit has given Archie hope of walking again

Children Today: How a gym kit has given Archie hope of walking again
Archie and his brother, Freddie (left) are both benefitting from the gym equipment

ARCHIE Howells has an undiagnosed genetic condition, which causes a number of health issues including severe hypermobility and autism. Since undergoing surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to help him with his long-term mobility, 11-year-old Archie has been unable to stand or walk independently.

His mum, Lorraine Howells explained:

“Due to Archie’s condition, he has severe hypermobility, which means he’s never been able to run, ride a bike or propel a scooter. He’d almost been written off by the doctors and was expected to have to use a wheelchair for life. 

“Thankfully, we were really lucky to find a surgeon who specialises in operating on tendons, which is really hard to come by. Archie has had bone taken from his hips and used in his feet, and the tendons in his feet have been split and crossed over to help with his hypermobility. This operation has provided us with some hope that he will be able to be more stable and move independently in the future.”

Children Today Charitable Trust provided a specialist indoor gym kit to help with Archie’s rehabilitation and thanks to the equipment there is hope that he will be able to walk again soon. 

Lorraine continued:

“Archie’s long-term prognosis is still unclear but this gym kit has been amazing for his rehabilitation. He’s been having physio twice a week, but the doctors were concerned about how tight the muscles in his legs were becoming. 

“Since using the swing element of the gym kit Archie’s been able to straighten his legs for the first time! It’s unbelievable what a difference it’s made.”

The equipment has not only had a positive impact on Archie but on the whole family as Archie’s younger brother, Freddie, who has the same genetic condition has also benefitted. 

Lorraine added:

“The boys are polar opposites – Archie likes calmness and structure while Freddie is an absolute whirlwind. Freddie has hypermobility like Archie, but he also has ADHD and is very busy and boisterous, so trying to balance both their needs can be very difficult. 

“We’ve invested in an additional attachment for the swing for Freddie, which acts as a cocoon. It’s had such a soothing effect on him, which in turn has had a huge impact on Archie too. The whole house has been a much calmer place to be, which when you’re recuperating from major surgery, like Archie, is just what’s needed!” 

The gym kit is made up of six pieces of equipment including a swing, rope ladder and rings, which will be vital in building Archie’s upper body strength.

Lorraine said:

“Having this equipment at home for both boys to use is just incredible. We’ve never really been able to take them to the park, unless it’s really quiet, as Archie is so unstable on his feet, so he gets very stressed as he feels unsafe. 

“Now, with this gym kit, he’ll be able to practice at home and build up the strength and hopefully some confidence as well. We can’t thank Children Today enough for this!”

When asked what he thinks of the equipment, Archie said:

“It’s really fun and I go fast and high. It’s a nice feeling!”

Emma Prescott, Children Today charity director, said:

“Archie’s story is a fantastic example of how truly life-changing having the right equipment can be. 

“Juggling the needs of children with different abilities can be very challenging and have enormous implications on the wellbeing of everyone in that family. So, it’s fantastic to hear that Archie’s brother is also benefitting from the equipment and it’s helped in creating a more peaceful environment for the whole family too.” 

To find out more about how Children Today supports children and young people with a disability throughout the UK, please visit: www.childrentoday.org.uk.

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