Five-year-old British double amputee Tony Hudgell raises $1.7m with walk

Tony Hudgell felt "really good" to have achieved his goal of walking 10km on his new prosthetic legs in June with days to spare.
Tony Hudgell felt "really good" to have achieved his goal of walking 10km on his new prosthetic legs in June with days to spare.PHOTO: PAULA_HUDGELL/TWITTER

LONDON (REUTERS) - Five-year-old Tony Hudgell has raised more than £1 million (S$1.7 million) for the London hospital that saved his life by walking 10km on his new prosthetic legs after being inspired by Captain Tom Moore's record-breaking challenge.

Tony suffered near-fatal abuse from his birth parents when he was a baby that resulted in the amputation of his legs.

His adoptive mother Paula Hudgell said he received a set of new limbs in February and, from walking barely a step a month ago, he could now power through hundreds of metres every day.

The challenge had been "really fun", Tony said. Although it was hard to begin with, it had got easier day by day, he said. He added that he felt "really good" to have achieved his goal of walking 10km in June with days to spare.

Ms Hudgell said Tony had been fighting for his life when she first met him in Evelina London Children's Hospital when he was four months old.

"He'd had all his limbs broken, he'd had trauma to the face, sepsis, multi-organ failure, and they never expected him to survive," she said at the family's home in Kent, south-east England. "We took him home... he was broken, shutdown, a tiny, tiny underweight little boy."

Ms Hudgell and her husband adopted Tony in 2016. "We didn't want him to go anywhere else, he was our little boy by then,"she said.

Consultant Michail Kokkinakis said Tony's determination and the support of his family had helped him cope with multiple operations.

"I have seen him thriving, I have seen him becoming this very confident and bright young boy he is today," he said.

 
 
 

"He's a huge inspiration to us all."

Tony took on his challenge after seeing Capt Tom, 95 years his senior, walking 100 laps of his garden using a walking frame, raising £33 million.

His initial target of £500 had now passed an "absolutely incredible" £1 million, his mum said.

She said Tony was now fast and confident on his new legs. "(It) is incredible to think just 3½ weeks ago, he could barely take a few steps."

Deciding on his next challenge was a "hard question", Tony said, but longer term, he is set on becoming a policeman. "I want to handcuff bad people and robbers," he said.