Little Alfie Foster may be unable to dress or feed himself but he’s still managed a string of challenges to repay a charity for the help it gives him.
The four-year-old from Hanley has complex health conditions and attends the Peter Pan Centre for Children with Special Needs each week.
Staff at the centre have nominated Alfie as a Child of Courage in the Our Heroes Awards for both his fund-raising and his sheer determination to do the best he can.
Catherine Cook, fundraising and communications manager at the centre, said: “He is a true superstar and a fundraising star too. Alfie has extremely complex needs but he is a very determined little boy who lets nothing stand in the way of achieving his goals, one of which is to raise money for Peter Pan to help children just like him.
“He has raised an incredible £1,433 for our centre to date and has more plans afoot. All of us at Peter Pan are so proud of Alfie. He really is a child of courage.
“Alfie struggles to remember sequences or follow instruction due to his mobility issues, for example he does not bend his knees to jump and gets very frustrated when he cannot do something, but he perseveres and often finds his own way.”
“He is such a strong and inspirational little boy. He has achieved and overcome so much in his short life. His parents describe him as their little superhero and he certainly is one of our Peter Pan superheroes too.”
Alfie was born prematurely at 26 weeks and weighed just 2lb5. He had a hole in his heart and a chronic lung condition. He spent seven weeks in intensive care and was on oxygen until the age of two.
Learning difficulties affect his communication, motor planning, coordination, sensory processing and general development meaning he can’t dress himself or feed himself independently.
He has problems with his sight and communicates using a mix of Makaton signs, words and speech.
Despite all his health problems Alfie can swim using prescription goggles and has been awarded swimming prizes including his five metres badge.
He started swimming lessons at the age of just six months with his mum Ashlea, 36, in the pool, and his dad Tom, 30, standing on the side holding a canister of oxygen.
Ashlea said: “The Peter Pan Centre is just amazing. They’ve really helped us as a family and have been brilliant during lockdown, during which we’re shielding both our children due to their lung conditions.”
Alfie’s fundraising for the Peter Pan Centre has included jumping in muddy puddles alongside his brother Bradley, two, who also attends the centre.
He also ran around his trampoline 26 times – a tricky task for him as it involved doing a task repeatedly and following instructions.
He’s currently in training to run 50 metres 50 times, a big challenge due to pain in his legs.
Sadie Clarke, early years manager at The Peter Pan Centre, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to see the progress Alfie has made since starting at the centre to the little boy who is making incredible fundraising efforts for the centre today.
“We have seen his confidence grow from struggling to separate from his parents when he first started with us and have seen his communication flourish to now being able to communicate with those who know him well.”
If you would like to nominate someone for an Our Heroes Award send the details to email@example.com with ‘Our Heroes’ in the subject box.