Readers give gift of speech to teenage cerebral palsy sufferer
A TEENAGE triplet who has battled with cerebal palsy since birth has spoken his first words this month, thanks to help from readers of the Standard.
David Pearson and siblings Katy and Robert were born 12 weeks premature, weighing just two pounds, but only David developed the condition that has prevented him from being able to walk or speak and left him partially sighted.
The 16-year-old has been attending Milestone School in Gloucester where he began to improve after using a touch-screen computer, and two years ago the family tried to raise £4,000 for David to have one at home in Stratton.
The family raised some funds themselves but after the Standard launched its appeal for the remaining £2,800 in September 2010, generous readers helped reach the target within a few months and by December that year David had his computer.
This week mum Lizzi Ussher spoke of her joy that David had recently been able to say his first full words, and she puts his progress down to his interaction with the computer.
The youngster was also this month commended by his school at a leaving ceremony for students where he received an award for personal achievement and fortitude.
"He loves using the plasma screen and it's defenitely helped his recent progress and he's now able to say a couple of words such as "hip hip hooray"," she said.
"The school were amazed at the fact that he's been so desperatly ill on at least two occasions, but he's done it with complete courage and bravery, and just gone from strength to strength.
"He battled through three months in hospital, it nearly killed him, but he's come on in leaps and bounds and is looking at what he would like to do now he's finished school. I'm just so proud of him and would never have believed this possible.
"I just thought to myself that I really wanted to thank all those people who donated so generously to make this happen."