21-year-old brain damage survivor takes on walking challenge for Children Today

Written by Lexi Heselwood on 19th May 2021

A young man from Cheshire who suffered brain damage aged six which left him unable to walk is taking on a 10K walking challenge for Children Today.

Loyd Wildridge, 21, from Great Sutton, is taking part in this year’s 5K May organised by Run for Heroes to support charities across the UK. Participants can run or walk the suggested 5K distance and then make a donation or even get sponsored to take part in this challenge. However, Loyd is taking his challenge to the next level by deciding to walk not just five kilometres but ten kilometres to raise funds for Children Today.

Loyd’s mum Helen says: “When I asked Loyd if he wanted to take part in 5K May for Children Today, there was no hesitation. In fact, ever the optimist, he decided he wanted to walk ten kilometres instead!”

Loyd, who was born five-weeks prematurely, had some minor delays in his mental development but was progressing well, until sadly at the age of six he suffered a number of seizures, resulting in brain damage.

The damage to his brain left Loyd unable to walk or talk and to this day the cause of the fits remains undiagnosed.

Over the years Loyd has slowly relearnt to walk and talk, but he is still severely mentally and physically disabled – able to only walk short distances at a time and he occasionally uses a wheelchair as he tires easily.

In 2016 Loyd underwent multi-level surgery on both legs to help straighten up his legs. He also has a leg discrepancy and therefore requires a built up shoe and attends the podiatry clinic every six weeks.

Helen continues: “Children Today funded an adapted trike for Loyd a few years ago, to help him keep active and exercise regularly, so when we heard they were taking part in this challenge we were keen to get involved.

“The last year, throughout the pandemic and lockdowns, has been really tough for Loyd, as he’s not been able to attend college and all his sporting activities that he loves, like football and boccia aren’t on at the moment. He’d even been selected to take part in the special Olympics in Liverpool, but unfortunately that was cancelled.

“We’ve tried to keep busy and exercise as much as possible though and 5K May is a great opportunity to be active whilst supporting a charity that is close to ours hearts.

“Loyd’s doing the challenge in stages as five kilometres at once would be too much for him, but if you know Loyd you’ll know that he’s very determined and always up for a challenge – there’s no stopping him! To say I’m proud as punch of him is an understatement!”

Loyd turned 21 last August, which thankfully he was able to celebrate with friends and family outdoors due to the easing of restrictions at the time, and is due to finish his college placement in June.

His charitable escapades don’t end with challenging himself physically either, as mum Helen explains how since learning about the problems concerned with plastics in the ocean “he’s been going out litter picking in our local area to help keep the streets, and ultimately oceans, clean!”

If you would like to support Loyd’s 10K May challenge you can make a donation here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hwildridge

Emma Prescott, charity director at Children Today, adds: “Loyd is an absolute inspiration, and proof that this challenge really is for everyone no matter what your ability. His can-do attitude and enthusiasm for life is contagious! It doesn’t matter what challenges he faces, he’s such a kind-hearted person that he’s always thinking about how he can help others.

“So many families, have recently faced limitations on what they can do and experienced an increased sense of isolation during the pandemic. In the past year we’ve been inundated with enquiries from families desperate to be more mobile and active, but held back by the lack of the equipment they need to get out and about. We depend on the generosity and kindness of strangers to continue doing what we do, and any donations small or large really do make such a big difference.

“It’s great to see Loyd take on this challenge with such enthusiasm. If you would also like to take part we welcome anyone and everyone to sign up just like Loyd to the 5K May challenge – whether you walk, roll, cycle, skip or even swim your five kilometres, all that matters is getting your body moving and raising vital funds for charity!”

To take part on your own or as a group, donate your £5 to Children Today, then nominate friends and family members to complete their own 5km challenge. Simply visit: https://runforheroes.justgiving.com/get-involved?charityId=93829

Listen to Helen’s interview on Radio Dee 106.3 about Loyd’s story and why he is taking part in the challenge on the link below: