Jasper Thornton-Jones aged 5 from Reigate – a client at the Neurokinex Kids spinal cord injury rehabilitation centre in Gatwick – successfully completed his first self-powered charity challenge the Winter Wonderwheels event on Sunday 2nd December. Jasper, who is paralysed from the waist down after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease, completed a 5k race around Eton Dorney Lake on his trike alongside his celebrity team partner, GB paralympic swimmer Liz Johnson. His father Felix Thorton-Jones and younger brother Eliott also took part in the event, following Jasper by bike.
The Npower Winter Wonderwheels event organisers welcomed people of all ages with all disabilities. Aimed as a festive extravaganza, those taking part could use any special equipment and there were no cut-off times or limitations. Participants had the chance to cycle, walk, run, push, or be pushed around Dorney’s spectacular lake. There were 1km, 5km and 10km challenges on offer, so that there was something for everyone.
Jasper was fit and well before contracting Hand, Foot & Mouth disease at a party in November 2015. A rare complication meant a blood clot had damaged his lower spinal cord and he was paralysed from the waist down. He was transferred to Stanmore and Stoke Mandeville spinal care hospitals and was discharged in March 2016. Since that time, Jasper now attends Neurokinex Kids to receive its pioneering activity-based rehabilitation. Through interactive, fun play, Jasper spends his sessions building up his muscles, below his point of injury, to build up his core strength. Thanks to the help of the Neurokinex team and the treatment he is receiving, Jasper was able to take part in the Winterwonder Wheels event and has raised over £200 for Neurokinex Kids so far.
Commenting on his achievements his mother, Kate Thornton-Jones said: “The whole event had a great vibe, and Jasper loved every minute of it. It was great to see so many amazing para-athletes to show Jasper that sport is possible for him.” Paralympian Liz Johnson was impressed by both Jasper’s speed and spirit saying, “Jasper was a speed demon on the downhill sections!”
If you’d like to donate to Jasper’s efforts please visit: https://www.paypal.com/uk/fundraiser/charity/2391620