Disabled boy, 4, receives prosthetic blade for Christmas just like his hero Jonnie Peacock
Rio had lower right leg amputated at 14 months after being born without a knee or ankle jointHad got around using rigid NHS false limbAsked parents for a blade after watching Paralympics and meeting 100m runner Jonnie PeacockReceived new limb for Christmas thanks to Dorset-based company
01:10 GMT, 26 December 2012
Like many little boys, four-year-old Rio Woolf dreams of following in the footsteps of his sporting idols.
And his chances of achieving that ambition have taken a giant leap forward – thanks to some help from his biggest hero.
A delighted Rio received a hi-tech running blade for Christmas after Britain’s Paralympic sprint champion Jonnie Peacock heard of his plight.
‘I really love my new special leg,’ he said. ‘Now I can run about and do lots of things I’ve never done before.’
Rio jumps for joy after he receives the surprise Christmas gift from Santa (Dorset Orthopaedic's Bob Watts)
Rio was inspired to start running after meeting his hero Paralympian runner Jonnie Peacock
Rio, from Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire,
was born without a shinbone, knee or ankle joint, and had his lower
right leg amputated at 14 months.
He was originally fitted with a rigid
NHS prosthetic limb, but it slowed him down when he ran. Peacock, 19,
who won 100m gold and broke the Paralympic record at the London Games
this summer, put Rio’s parents in touch with experts at a prosthetic
limbs clinic after meeting the family at an event.
Dorset Orthopaedic, based in Ringwood,
Hampshire, offered to help for free after watching a video of Rio
running. Now there’s a spring in his step after the 4,000 lightweight
carbon-fibre blade – decorated with his favourite character Fireman Sam –
was fitted on Christmas Eve.
His parents Trevor, 47, a bathroom fitter, and Juliette, 44, are equally overjoyed.
Mrs Woolf said: ‘It’s a dream come
true for Rio and is the perfect Christmas present. He is over the moon
and very excited and after it was fitted he couldn’t stop jumping up and
‘He’s been so captivated watching
people running in the Paralympics with their “special legs”, as he calls
them, and now he can run too.
Rio holds his new limb that has been decorated with a picture of the cartoon Fireman Sam
Rio with his proud parents Juliette and Trevor. They are now raising money to fit him out with new legs as he grows up
'It is a dream come true for Rio and is the perfect Christmas present.
'He is over the moon and very excited and after it was fitted he couldn't stop jumping up and down.
'We took Rio along to the Paralympic Primary Games for children and he loved participating, even with his NHS leg.
was then he started to show he loved to run. He said it was his
favourite thing. The only problem was that his old leg was very heavy.
'Despite this he was running quite fast and we could see how much he enjoyed it. He had the speed, but not the right equipment.
'Now there is nothing stopping him.
He loves the Paralympics and although he is only four, I think he will
see it through to the end.
'He has shown promise at such a young age and he has told me he wants to get back on the track already.
Standing tall: Rio's blade is 150g lighter than his old NHS prosthetic
husband and I are incredibly thankful to Dorset Orthopaedic and we are
hugely indebted to them for giving Rio this amazing opportunity.'
So Rio can continue wearing the blades as he grows and needs replacements, his mother has started a fundraising campaign.
Rio has worn NHS prosthetic limbs for the last three years after he was born with a one-in-a-million condition, Tibial Aplasia.
His parents decided to have his leg amputated so he wouldn't be restricted to a wheelchair and could have the option to walk with a false leg.
Prosthetic legs on the NHS are heavier than the blade and take up to three months to make before Rio can use them, which he outgrows quickly.
Bob Watts, managing director of Dorset Orthopaedic, said: 'The blade and socket we have had made for Rio is 150g lighter than the NHS prosthetic legs.
'The blade is made out of carbon fibre which is very light, springs back into shape, and 95 per cent of energy you put into it will come back during running.
'The blade is guaranteed to last for at least a year, but as a child grows the socket will need to be replaced after six to nine months of use.'
Mrs Woolf is now fundraising to try and raise money so that Rio can continue wearing the blades as he grows and needs new sockets, which cost 2,500 on their own.
Visit www.facebook.com/RioWoolf for more information