10 May 2009

Against all odds - Weymouth boy Alex's brave battle

A BOY who doctors said would not live beyond his first birthday has defied the odds to become his family’s pride and joy.
Little Alex Lever is now looking forward to celebrating his fourth birthday and friends and family says he lights up all their lives.
Trapped in a body that won’t respond to his brain, the three-year-old has been described by doctors as having the mental age of a 10-month-old baby.
But Alex’s loving family believes there is ‘much more going on’ than people realise and say he has made remarkable progress in the past year and a half.
They are trying to raise £2,000, with the support of Weymouth’s community, for specialist sensory equipment and a standing frame to improve the quality of his life.
Dad Joe Lever, 28, of Wyke Regis said: “The equipment would make a huge difference to Alex.
“The most important thing is a vibrating mattress, which connects to a stereo and moves in time to the music, and a standing frame that would allow Alex to use his legs.
“He’s incredibly active but he can’t support himself and he’s getting too big for us to hold him all the time.
“The standing frame would be a precursor to a walking frame. I’m confident he’s going to walk some day.”
He added: “All the equipment and disability aids are very expensive so we’re grateful to Ian Young and the other fundraisers like Portland firefighters who are making this possible.”
Alex, who lives with mum Danielle Williams and her family in Weymouth’s Park District, has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and myoclonic epilepsy with seizure.
When he was born he registered ‘only slightly above stillborn’ and Joe said: “We’re very lucky to have him, he very nearly died.”
Alex currently takes four different medications a day and cannot walk or crawl but he never stops moving and needs to consume 2,000 calories a day.
He does not like anything put in his mouth so has to be fed a special high-calorie diet through a nose tube.
Alex can only make a few basic sounds and requires 24-hour care.
For the past two years, two care workers from Julia’s House children’s hospice have visited weekly to provide four hours of respite care.
Since September Alex has attended Wyvern School for disabled children two mornings a week, where he loves the soft room, sensory room and will soon start sessions in the hydro therapy pool.
Grandma Sylvia Williams, 54, said: “He loves his baths so we think he’ll really enjoy it.
“One hip hasn’t formed properly and is non-weight bearing, so it’s safe to say Alex will never walk unaided.
“The doctors said Alex wasn’t going to last a year and said he was a vegetable - but he’s certainly no vegetable, he’s quite happy.
“All the staff at Wyvern say Alex knows he’s loved.”
Joe works split shifts as assistant steward at the Wyke Regis Working Men's Club and spends five afternoons a week with Alex.
Alex is also visited regularly by his other grandparents, who live in Preston, Weymouth.
Grandma Jan Lever, 62, said: “He’s got a terrific sense of humour – he hits you and laughs.
“He’s definitely making progress.”
On May Bank Holiday Monday a charity football match, disco and raffle were held to raise money for Alex’s specialist equipment.
Organised by Ian Young and sponsored by local businessman Stuart Barnes, the event at Williams Avenue pitch, Weymouth included a barbecue, and bouncy castle.
A disco was then held at the Wyke Regis Working Mens Club on Portland Road, Weymouth. More than £1,000 was raised on the day.
Anybody with donations or fundraising ideas for Alex’s cause is asked to contact the club on 01305 786867

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