‘Inspiring’ Alfie, 10, gets running blade legs, thanks to Hastings club

Generous members of the public and organisations have raised thousands of pounds to help buy a 10-year-old boy new running blades.
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Stewart Ide, from Hastings-based HY Runners, set up a Gofundme page to raise £8,000 on behalf of Alfie Gannon.

The youngster was born with absence of the lower limbs and a partial foot on one side.

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He had excessive tightening of the leg muscles and muscle weakness across his whole body.

Alfie Gannon SUS-211230-124751001Alfie Gannon SUS-211230-124751001
Alfie Gannon SUS-211230-124751001

From six months Alfie has had operations which have enabled prosthetic legs to be fitted.

With extensive physiotherapy and the assistance of a walking frame, Alfie strengthened his muscles, improved his balance and learned to walk.

In August, Alfie started showing an interest in running and took up the ‘Kids train for free’ offer at HY Runners.

Runners who took part in the charity event on behalf of Alfie on Monday SUS-211230-124801001Runners who took part in the charity event on behalf of Alfie on Monday SUS-211230-124801001
Runners who took part in the charity event on behalf of Alfie on Monday SUS-211230-124801001
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Jo Collins, from the club, said: “Alfie quickly developed a passion for running, becoming a committed and enthusiastic member. Each week, he cannot wait to get to the track and beams as he gets stuck in to the session.

“It is incredible that Alfie now races around the track, showing that there really are no limits to what anyone can do in life.

“The HY Runners have been so inspired by Alfie, his resilience, ambition and drive, that they wanted to find a way to help him. Alfie’s request is simply to help him run faster and to do that effectively, he needs some running blades.”

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The running blades used by amputee athletes are an advanced type of prosthesis, or prosthetic limb, which are used to replace a missing body part.

Invented in the 1970s, the blades store kinetic energy in a similar fashion to a spring which allows the athlete to run and jump.

The blades themselves are made from lightweight carbon fibre. Over 80 layers of carbon fibre are required to make one running blade, and these need to be laid by hand.

The blades can be customised to the athlete’s particular requirements and come in at around £8,000.

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Since the Gofundme page was set up on behalf of Alfie, more than £8,700 has been raised so far, with substantial amounts donated from Triangle Fire Systems, Charity for Kids and Purdue Performance.

Around 40 runners also took part in a Charity for Kids organised fundraiser on behalf of Alfie on Monday (December 27).

Participants took part in 5k and 10k runs, as well as a 2.5-mile run for children.

More than £470 was raised, with several further online donations made.

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Jo said: “The story about Alfie is an undeniably inspiring one. Rather than letting his disability limit him, it has spurred him to be the best he can be. Alfie is a brilliant role model and an example to everyone.

“It will be a momentous occasion when Alfie hits the track with his new blades and shows everyone what he is capable of.”

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/lets-get-alfie-some-blades.