Little Leo is standing tall this Christmas

Siobhan Edge of Epworth with her son Leo Palmer and daughter Kaycee-Mae Edge.  ( Buy this photo E1909TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
Siobhan Edge of Epworth with her son Leo Palmer and daughter Kaycee-Mae Edge. ( Buy this photo E1909TS) Picture: Tony Saxton

While most youngsters are looking forward to finally opening presents tomorrow, one little boy has already been given the best gift.

Leo Palmer, aged four, has stood up for the first time - after his parents, Siobhan Edge and Richard Palmer, were told this would never happen.

Leo, of Station Road, Owston Ferry, has dysplasia and cerebral palsy which meant that he was expected to never sit, stand or walk, unaided.

However, the determined youngster has defied the odds - much to his delight.

Siobhan said: “It was the best Christmas present we could ask for. On December 2 he stood up all by himself for a few seconds.

“I missed it. He was in the lounge with his nan, Wendy Edge, and his big sister 11-year-old Kaycee.

“Kaycee started shouting me so I came in and then he did it again. He pushed himself to the end of the sofa and then pushed himself upwards to stand. It was amazing. We’re all so proud.

“He was so excited as well. He kept saying I can do it, I can do it. He was so happy.

“He keeps standing up by himself now, with a little support from the wall of the sofa. We have to be careful that somebody is in the room with him when he does it because if he doesn’t have support he can fall over. Now he can stand he thinks he can run so we do have to watch him.

“He only stands for around five seconds, but it’s so good that he’s doing it because we were told he never would.”

The amazing milestone marks the end of a wonderful year for Leo - who also began sitting unaided for the first time 10 months ago.

“It means that this year he will be able to sit up and open his Christmas presents and then play with them properly,” said Siobhan.

“It’s something else we were told he would never be able to do. He even has the strength in his arms now to be able to push himself back up if he does fall over.

“It’s all thanks to his private physiotherapist Daniel Woods, who sees him once a week and has been fantastic with him. He’s really built up his confidence and has also got him in to the crawling position.”

Leo and his family have recently returned from a trip visiting Father Christmas on the Santa Express train, after the Wish Upon a Star charity nominated the brave youngster for the trip on December 16. The charity aims to grant the wishes of children living with a life threatening illness.

“It was such a wonderful day. He was able to stand holding hands with his dad and have a dance with him. It was such a lovely, magical moment.

“There were other children with disabilities there too and Leo started to realise that he is not the only one who has to use a wheelchair. It was nice to watch him talking to other children and making his own friends too.

“He’s so excited for Chrismas now, he keeps saying he must go to bed because Santa is watching him,” said Siobhan.

Now, Siobhan, aged 28, and 30-year-old Richard are looking forward to a family Christmas and the new year - when they are hoping the good news will keep coming.

“We’re hoping that Leo will be able to have an operation early next year to help him walk. It’s the one thing we have wanted for years, but we have had to wait until Leo is old enough to explain to him what will happen as he will have to be bed bound for a week if he does have it,” said Siobhan.

The couple are now waiting for a letter from Leeds General Infirmary, one of only two hospitals in the country which will perform the operation, inviting them for an appointment. Doctors will then assess whether Leo is ready for surgery.

“It’s a complicated procedure, but at the moment the nerves in his legs are being sent mixed messages and this will stop that from happening,” added Siobhan.

“If he were to have it, it would be life changing. It would be like being given a new pair of legs, he’d be a new little boy. This is not our only option, but if he has this then he will definitely walk.”

To follow Leo’s progress, see his Facebook page by searching ‘Leo’s fundraising page’.