Superhero brothers from Chipping Sodbury race 30km to help others with spinal injuries

Report by Charlotte Gay

Two brothers are proving to be superheroes after wheeling and running 30km to raise almost £2,000 for charity.

Five-year-old Alfie, who is paralysed from the waist down, set himself the challenge to travel 20km over the course of a month by independently pushing his wheelchair.

But, joined by his two-year-old brother Freddie run alongside him, he was able to smash both his distance and fundraising target.

Freddie and Alfie walked, ran and pushed for 30 km around their home to raise money for other people with spinal injuries. Credit: ITV West Country

His big effort is to raise funds for Neurokinex, a specialist spinal cord rehabilitation facility in Almondsbury which helped the school boy out when a rare tumour caused a spinal cord injury when Alfie was just one-month-old.

His family say the charity has "done wonders".

One of his physios did say to us that she wasn't sure he'd manage to sit independently. He's happily sitting independently and getting around on his feet now with a frame.

Esther, Alfie's mum
There were concerns Alfie might never be able to sit up independently but he can even walk, with the help of a frame. Credit: ITV West Country

Alfie's mum, Esther, says that when he started going to Neurokinex in Bristol, "He was really only just starting to pull himself up onto his feet and the progress he's made since going there has been absolutely incredible."

The family decided to support the charity's Step Up appeal to help others like him.

Alfie had been due to take part in this year's Superhero Series Triathlon, an annual event specifically for those with a disability. But, due to Covid-19, the event was changed to an 'At Home Superheroes Challenge'.

Alfie and Freddie were only supposed to do 20km in their challenge around the garden, but loved it so much they continued.

Esther adds, "In fact they absolutely smashed it and managed 30km. It's been amazing to see them getting faster and stronger every day".

Freddie and Alfie celebrating their success at completing their 30 km challenge. Credit: ITV West Country

Alfie's challenge was even interrupted by an operation midway through, but that did not stop him completing the target distance ahead of time - before deciding to carry on until his fifth birthday on 14 July.

The money they raised will go to help people on Neurokinex's Newly Injured Scheme which helped Alfie out during his rehabilitation.

Esther adds: "Two and a half years on and it's a vital part of his rehabilitation: I honestly don't know where we would be if we hadn't found Neurokinex and been referred to its Newly Injured Scheme.

"It's made such a huge difference, particularly as Alfie was so young when his injury occurred. Prior to Neurokinex, Alfie was having hospital admissions for rehabilitation twice a year, but progress between admissions was much slower. Over those six weeks of sessions at Neurokinex it became very clear that we simply couldn't do without their support."

Sadly, the Newly Injured Scheme, which costs £420 per person, is under threat as loss of income during the Covid-19 pandemic means the Neurokinex Charitable Trust can not afford to fund the programme after lockdown.

To try to save the scheme, Neurokinex launched its Step Up Appeal to raise £25,000 to safeguard these services for people who are waiting for their help.

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report on the two superheroes' fundraising challenge