05 April 2009

DANIEL’S A WINNER Princess’s award for sick lad


DESPITE a lifelong struggle with cerebral palsy, Daniel Johns’ positive attitude brings happiness to all who meet him.

Even after enduring two nine-hour operations within months of each other, Daniel pulled through with a grin on his face.

His constant cheerfulness has earned the 16-year-old admiration from friends and colleagues at Kilton Thorpe Special School, in Brotton.

And he has now been recognised for the joy he inspires with the Princess Diana Award for overcoming adversity.

Daniel lives in Loftus with his mum Lynn, 43, dad Peter, a Sky engineer, also 43, sister Lacey, 13, and brothers Mitchell, 13, and Louie, four.

Lynn said: “We were over the moon when we heard. His school put him in for it and it was written in his book when he came home that he was going to receive it. I rang all my friends and family!”

Daniel was born 24 weeks early and suffered bleeding in his brain, and had to fight for his life.

“He was born so early we always thought there might be a chance he would have cerebral palsy because he had bled. He fought so hard to live we weren’t bothered what he was like and it wasn’t a shock to us,” said Lynn.

Daniel was registered as blind from an early age and the Johns family have had to make adaptations to their house to make room for his wheelchair.

As Daniel got older he started to develop scoliosis in his upper body and doctors needed to operate to repair it.

“He had slight curvature in his spine for a while,” said Lynn.

“We always knew it was there from him being young but over time it was getting worse. It got to the point where he was in so much discomfort he had to lie down.

“The specialist said he had to have a major operation because if he didn’t, over time he would just curl up that much all his organs would squash.”

He had a nine-hour operation in January 2007, but had to go back for a second in the following April.

“It was horrendous,” said Lynn. “It was such a long operation and in the second he got an infection.

“He has recuperated quite well, amazingly - we don’t know how, after everything they did to him.

“He is so much better, but now they want to do his hip, because it is dislocated. His upper body is straight but he is sweeping to one side.”

Lynn added: Daniel has such a lovely personality, he can’t speak, but he smiles and everybody who meets him thinks they don’t have it bad at all.

“He doesn’t understand that he has won the Princess Diana Award and that’s a crying shame.”

Teacher Suzanne Laver, who nominated Daniel, said: “He is the most happy and content young man, he brings joy into everybody’s life, he is no bother at all.”

Daniel received his award, in front of his family and friends, from Mike Dillon, the director of adult and children’s services for Redcar and Cleveland, during a special assembly on Friday.

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