Helston schoolboy's campaign delight

Josh Mills, of the Packet's Footprints campaign, with his mum Jo.

Josh Mills, of the Packet's Footprints campaign, with his mum Jo.

First published in Cornwall

The mother of a Helston schoolboy who dreams of one day being able to walk has been delighted by the response to a fundraising campaign aiming to make it all possible.

Last week the Packet launched its Footprints campaign in support of seven-year-old Josh Mills, a St Michael’s Primary School pupil who has cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs, leaving him unable to stand or walk unaided.

Josh has been accepted for a £27,000 operation at Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital that will remove the tight muscle tone preventing him from walking properly, but he will have to start building the muscle from scratch.

To help him do this Josh must attended physiotherapy sessions three times a week, costing £60 – a total of around £7,000 – and the Footprints campaign is aimed at raising these funds.

The response from readers has already been huge, with two of Josh’s elderly neighbours donating £20 to the cause and the Packet receiving an anonymous donation of £100.

Josh’s mum Jo said this week: “A huge thank you to everyone for their support. People are just so kind – it’s unbelievable. We really appreciate their support.”

On Friday the CuldRoses military wives choir collected money for Josh at the Helston Christmas lights switch on, raising £128.60.

Friends at the Helston naval base have already held a sponsored car wash to raise money and are planning more events in the future.

This Friday a 60s and 70s party night will take place at Helston’s Godolphin Club from 8pm, organised by Helston Rotary Club, featuring lives bands Point Blank and Merlins Rockit, as well as Alvin Sawdust.

Tickets cost £5 from Harlequin Design at the St John’s Business Park, Carpet Connection at Water-ma-Trout and Gillian’s Tubs in Meneage Street.

A fundraising bank account has also been set up in Josh’s name, called the Josh Mills Fundraising Account, which donations can be paid into. The account number is 54918421 and the sort code is 53-50-37.

Jo said Josh had already become something of a mini celebrity at school, with his schoolmates and their parents now understanding his condition better after reading about it in the paper.

“It has made people a lot more aware,” she said. “It’s really nice that people can understand why he’s having the operation – a lot of people don’t like to ask – and got to understand Josh a lot better and our circumstances.”

Josh is a surviving twin, born prematurely at 37 weeks. His parents were warned to prepare themselves for the fact they might lose Josh as well but, against the odds, he clung on to life.

A lack of oxygen at some stage during the pregnancy, however, meant that Josh was diagnosed with CP at 12 months old.

Josh himself has only one ambition after the operation – to stand in the shower on his own – although the hope is that one day he will be strong enough to walk a few steps unaided.

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