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Uttoxeter youngster Leo smiling despite spina bifida battle

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A UTTOXETER mum has spoken of her pride for her little boy’s determination in battling a debilitating disease.

Leo Keates was born with spina bifida, a condition whose sufferers are left with a gap in their spine.

This causes serious mobility problems and two-year-old Leo has to walk with a frame to support him.

The condition affects one in every 1,000 babies and, although surgery can repair the gap in the spine, nerve damage often leaves sufferers partially paralysed.

Mum Faye Leason told the Post ad Times how determined Leo is in combatting the illness.

She said: “Everything is a challenge for Leo as his legs are so weak.

“But he’s doing fantastically well in being positive.

“He falls down quite a lot but picks himself up and just keeps going, which is inspirational to see.

“I’m prouder than most mums because I see the frustration Leo has to deal with and that can be upsetting.

“But his attitude is just incredible.”

Leo recently came out of hospital after a major operation.

In November he underwent surgery to transfer tendons to his right foot.

And the brave youngster will soon be back in hospital to have the same procedure performed on his left foot.

At the minute, Leo can only stand on tip-toes and is unable to stand on his heels.

Ms Leason, 23, has thanked her partner, Mark Keates, and her friends and family for the suppor they have given her since Leo was born.

She said: “Mark and I make a great team in looking after Leo.

“We’re determined that he has every chance not to be disadvantaged by his condition.

“We want him to have all the same opportunities as other children.

“On social media we’ve had a lot of support and we want to raise awareness of spina bifida to help other children who are suffering.

“I’ve lived in Uttoxeter all my life and the people I know in town have been just fantastic.

Family friend Michael Hollinshead will be doing his bit when he takes part in the Tough Mudder mud run in Chester in September.

He will be raising money for Shine, a charity supporting those suffering from spina bifida.

Ms Leason said: “A Just Giving page will be set up in the near future and we’re really grateful for what Michael’s doing.

“I want Leo to know how much support he has from people in Uttoxeter.

“I want him to know that he’s loved.

“And, at the end of the day, as long as Leo’s happy, that’s all I care about.”

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