Boy, 14, walks marathon after brain surgery

Published
image copyrightThe Children's Hospital Charity
image captionBen Mattocks received extensive physiotherapy after undergoing two operations at Sheffield Children's Hospital

A boy who was told he may never walk again after falling ill with a rare brain infection has walked the length of a marathon in six days for charity.

Ben Mattocks, 14, took his first steps six weeks ago following extensive physiotherapy after he fell ill in January, his mother Lucy Warnes said.

He had two operations and spent 10 weeks in Sheffield Children's Hospital.

The teenager wanted to "give something back" and has raised more than £1,600 for The Children's Hospital Charity.

Ben, from Doncaster, underwent a craniectomy to remove part of his skull and relieve pressure on his brain after contracting the infection, which was triggered by a bout of sinusitis.

Ms Warnes said her son had "faced the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair".

image copyrightThe Children's Hospital Charity
image captionThe teenager had a "long and difficult journey" to regain his movement, his mother said

"He has faced some very dark and difficult times over the last few months but has overcome every hurdle that has stood in his way," she said.

"Ben was a very active child, attending the gym five times a week and he loved to play sport, everything from swimming to football.

"The change was so sudden. It was heartbreaking seeing him not able to move or respond to us."

She said Ben had a "long and difficult journey" to regain his movement, but received support from the speech, language and physiotherapy teams at the hospital, which continued over video calls at home due to the lockdown.

"He is an inspiration to us all."

Ms Warnes described the hospital staff as "angels in disguise" and said the care was "outstanding".

The Children's Hospital Charity described the treatment as "life-saving" and said: "To walk a marathon so soon after his treatment is an incredible achievement.

"We're really thankful to Ben, his family and everyone who generously supported his challenge in these difficult times."

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