Dragon's Den star accompanies Lyndon Longhorne on his mission to walk unaided (From The Northern Echo)
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Dragon's Den star accompanies Lyndon Longhorne on his mission to walk unaided
When Paralympic hopeful Lyndon Longhorne was struck down with meningitis as a baby no one knew what the future held. DANI WEBB was with him as he took his first steps using new prosthetic limbs which are set to transform his life.
WITH his trademark smile and the steely determination he is known for Lyndon declared "I'm ready to go" -as he took his first steps on his new legs.
The 17-year-old has been fitted with prosthetic legs which will help him fulfil his dream of competing at the 2016 Paralympics - but more importantly will allow him to walk unaided for the first time.
He still needs crutches but already has the motivation and determination to ditch them for good by Christmas - a self-imposed deadline.
The teenager, who lost both legs, an arm and the fingers on his other hand when he was eight-and-a-half months old, has spent years using a wheelchair, prosthetic limbs with crutches or just shuffling around on his bum.
He still has the old prosthetic legs, paid for by the Limbs for Lyndon appeal in 2009. However, as he has grown they have become increasingly uncomfortable.
Walking down the corridor at the Specialist Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre, in Preston, Lancashire, he said: "They are going to make such a difference to me. I just want to get going so I can be more independent.
"I can already do a lot of things and don't let anything stop me but this will make the 'can't do' list even smaller."
Lyndon was introduced to the centre by family friend and Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne, who joined him on the trip across the Pennines yesterday (Friday, September 27).
Mr Bannatyne has been a supporter of the Lyndon, of Crook, County Durham, since meeting him at the Well Child Awards in 2009.
"Lyndon is an inspiration to me, as is the rest of his family," said Mr Bannatyne. "They are amazing how they have got through this and are always so positive.
"He always has a smile on his face and nothing gets in his way.
"I wanted to do everything in my power to help Lyndon achieve his goals and these new limbs should make a huge difference to his training for Rio 2016."
In addition to his Paralympic dream, the most pressing matter for Meningitis Uk ambassador Lyndon is his wish to be able to drive.
The new legs, paid for on the NHS, will give him the freedom to do this, although as a nervous look appears on mother Tammy Shevels' face, its clear she is not quite as eager to see him behind the wheel just yet.
"I'm trying not to think about it," she says. "But it will give him his independence.
"I was very pleased and proud to see Lyndon walk on his new legs for the first time - it was a very emotional experience.
"His old prosthetics were uncomfortable to walk in and Lyndon really disliked wearing them for extended periods of time."
It is clear wherever Lyndon goes he inspires the people he meets and that includes his consultant.
"He is an outstanding young man with huge potential and we as a team are doing our utmost to ensure that he can reach his potential," added Dr Fergus Jepson.
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