Brave tot shouts ‘me walk, me walk’ after defying doctors to take first steps

A boy who became paralysed ­within hours of his birth because of a brain and spinal cord bleed has ­defied odds by stepping into 2020.

Parents Mark and India Aldridge were devastated when doctors told them newborn Ralph would never sit, stand, crawl or walk.

Now thanks to pioneering specialist physio Ralph, aged two, can keep up with his twin brother Wilbur, attend nursery and feel his proud parents tickling his feet.

India said: “To see him shouting ‘Me walk, me walk’ makes my heart melt with joy.”

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The couple’s world fell apart eight hours after the twins’ birth in December 2017 when Ralph was rushed to hospital with a brain haemorrhage and put into a coma.

India, 34, said: “He was completely floppy, like a rag doll, and head to toe in bruises.”

Two weeks later he was scanned at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London.

The parents were told Ralph would never move below his waist. His hips were also out of alignment, with his feet twisted backwards.

The wait for NHS physio was up to three months.

India said: “It was hopeless and we felt powerless.”

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They were paying for weekly private physio at their home but in April 2018 saw a TV news item about Neurokinex Kids, a new rehab facility for children with a spinal cord injury in Crawley, West Sussex, 40 miles from their South London home in New Malden.

Ralph was referred for six free NHS sessions, which he started that May 31.

India said: “A weight was lifted from our shoulders. The equipment and expertise was mind-blowing and the sense of positivity gave us hope for the first time since the birth.”

Specialist physios encouraged Ralph to play games to develop his core, his leg strength and the ­alignment from his hips to his feet through activities such as throwing balls into hoops and soft-play facilities.

With intensive training he simulated walking on a ­treadmill supported by a ­harness while electrical stimulation therapy ­activated his nerve paths.

India said: “We’re still going to Neurokinex twice a week and know we have a long way to go.

“It does feel like 2020 will be the best year ever.”



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