A toddler from Kirkcaldy whose parents feared he may never walk has defied the odds and completed a fundraising walk to support the hospital that transformed his life.
During a routine pregnancy scan, Thomas Sims’ parents – Kimberley Giles and John Sims – were told he had a complex case of talipes (or club foot) and would need extensive treatment if he was to ever be able to walk.
From just three weeks old, Thomas’ left leg was put in a specially designed cast to gently encourage his foot to turn outwards and for the first months of his life, he had more than 15 different full leg plaster casts.
He then spent three months in carefully designed boots which held his feet together for 23 hours a day.
Mum Kimberley, 27, said: “Seeing our baby in a cast when he was still so small was heartbreaking. We didn’t get to do those ‘normal’ things like give him a nice bath, and he wasn’t able to wear onesies when he was in his boots and bar. Everything had to be footless.
“We would worry so much about him taking his first steps, so it was completely unexpected when he did.
“We were getting him ready for bed, he pulled himself up on his cot bars and just simply let go! He hadn’t even been standing independently at this point so it was a shock.
“We sobbed and sobbed but it was the most amazing experience.”
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Now 20 months old, Thomas wears special heavy boots to flatten his feet and is making fantastic progress. Not only is he now walking, but he loves to run around and keep his parents on their toes.
Last week, Thomas and his family – who moved to Kirkcaldy earlier this year – completed the Santa Toddle at Inverleith Park to raise money and say thank you to Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) for the support they received during their time at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Kimberley continued: “We have had times where we worried about Thomas not being able to walk at all because of his talipes and subsequent treatment, but the hospital changed his life and gave him this ability.
“Having his treatment at the RHSC was hard going as at one point we were travelling weekly from the Highlands to Edinburgh.
“But at the same time, the staff were absolutely wonderful, as was ECHC.
“Without the charity’s support, it would have made things even more difficult as we were so far from home during the hardest time of our lives. They helped us with the parents’ accommodation which made the world of difference as we were able to stay close to our son when he was so unwell.”
ECHC funds an extensive arts programme which provides fun, creativity and distraction by delivering a variety of daily arts activities for children and young people throughout the hospital.
Kimberley said: “There were volunteers who played the guitar and sung, and who brought around books.
“He also had a lady visit him to do sensory play and he even got to meet the Therapet dog.
“Now when he visits as an outpatient, there is always something going on, such as little arts workshops or instruments to play with. It just breaks the day up and always brings a smile to his face, even when he is not feeling very well.
“This is why it was really important to us to raise money for the charity who supported us so much during such a difficult time.”
Rachel Baxter, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at ECHC, said: ““We would like to say an enormous thank you to Thomas, Kimberley and John for choosing to support our cause and enabling us to continue our vital work.”
To donate to Thomas’ fundraiser, visit HERE: https://teamechc.everydayhero.com/uk/thomas-does-the-santa-toddle