A disabled nine-year-old from Nottinghamshire who is raising funds to help children just like him by walking 100km, the equivalent of travelling from earth to the edge of space, has already raised £1,000 – double the amount he set out to achieve – and has gained some out of this world fans, including Tim Peake who sent a personal video message of praise and encouragement to his young fan.
Despite having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which affects his joints and causes him chronic pain and fatigue, Timothy Dickson, from Tuxford, wanted to raise money for Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, the leading charity supplier of specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children around the UK, which provided him with a specialist bed five years ago to keep him safe through the night as he also has Autism.
Timothy, the current title holder of Little Mister Sparkle, a pageant which allows anyone to compete, regardless of their differences, took his first steps on June 12 and planned 40 loops of his local village to complete the 100km (66 miles) by September 1, but he has been so determined to complete his mission to space that he now plans to complete his last loop on July 24, five weeks ahead of schedule!
The commitment and determination Timothy has shown to help others has made him a real local hero – with many from the local community either walking alongside Timothy and his mum, Laura, to lend their support or sending messages of encouragement – including two tweets from astronaut Tim Peake, who has now also sent a personal video message.
Laura said: “Tim Peake is my son’s hero, he’s worshipped him for years as he loves anything to do with space, so for him to first receives tweets from Brian Cox and Tim Peake – thanks to the twitter expertise of his Godmother Emma Hollings – and now he’s receive this video message from Tim Peake, thanks to Newlife, is just amazing.
“In the video Tim Peake said how proud he was of Timothy’s fundraising for Newlife and gave Timmy his top tips for staying hydrated while he walks – just as he does in space, and he showed him how they do it when on a real-life spacewalk. Timothy was over the moon, he just sat there in stunned silence to start with. Now he can’t stop watching it and talking about it.
“We have had such positive feedback from everyone – including local MP Robert Jenrick sent a letter to say he had heard about Timothy’s fundraising and called him an ‘inspirational young man’, and Morrison s in Retford sent him boxes of ice lollies and bottles of water to cool him down while walking when we had a mini heatwave.
“It’s been such a fantastic experience and I am so proud of Timothy, especially as he has been able to raise so much money for Newlife, because this is what it was all about. The bed we had from Newlife cost around £5,000 so we have now funded a tenth of one for another child.”
Laura added that it hasn’t always been easy for Timothy to walk the loops around the village, but knowing there are lots of children like him who need specialist equipment that the NHS can’t fund or are only able to supply a very basic model, when a more specific model is needed, means he carried on for the children who need help now.
Newlife provides grants of equipment including specialist beds, seats, buggies and wheelchairs. The charity also runs the only emergency equipment service that aims to get loans of specialist disability equipment to families in crisis anywhere in the UK within 72 hours.
Laura added: “Timothy pushed himself to do four laps the other day, this is furthest he has ever walked – it was tough going but he really wanted to do it. We are so proud of everything he is achieving.”
To donate to Timothy’s mission to help disabled children just visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lolli-Dickson-tim