Little Thomas Hudson has been brought to book – literally.
The two-and-a-half year old, who has cerebral palsy, is the inspiration behind a new book “Tommy at the farm”, penned by his uncle Adam Kirkby,
Now Thomas’s mother Joanne Hudson, from Cabus, and Adam, are seeking a publisher or printer for the story in the hope of boosting funds to pay for special treatment for Thomas.
Joanne, of Lancaster New Road, explained that the aim is to take Thomas, who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebal palsy and suffered brain damage during labour or after his birth, to the specialist Bobath Centre in London every four to six months.
Thomas suffers stiffness in all four limbs and has poor core stability. He cannot roll, sit or walk independently. The family also needs to buy specialist equipment to aid and encourage his independence.
Joanne said: “To go to Bobath costs £3,900 a time, but it’s more because we have to have accommodation and stuff so we say it’s about £5,000 per trip.”
It was after watching children’s TV with Thomas that Adam wondered why there was not a children’s character who used a wheelchair. His story, about a wheelchair-user boy called Tommy, who helps his nan and grandad on the family farm draws inspiration from experiences at Thomas’ grandparents’farm at Pilling.
The fictional character Tommy has an extraordinary wheelchair which uses parts from a tractor and is called his “tractor-chair”. Tommy also has a pet dog, a border collie called Lucy.
Thomas is a regular visitor to Gulf Farm and loves to visit his grandparents Philip and Lynne Kirkby there. Joanne said: “It’s a lovely little story. It was a brilliant idea - I couldn’t believe it when Adam gave it to me. There isn’t really a main character out there that is a wheelchair user.”
Joanne said funding is also needed for more equipment for her son, because although the NHS is helpful, funding is inevitably limited. For example, Thomas has one special chair which means that every time he visits his grandma,his special chair and table have to be transported too.
She added: “We’ve bought him a trike recently which was £1,000. It’s all special needs(equipment) and it’s all just so expensive.”
In a bid to boost interest in the book, Adam and Joanne have taken to social media and are asking people to send in entries for a contest to name a new fictional character - a young girl who lives next door to Tommy and also uses a wheelchair. They are asking supporters to ask children to suggest a name and then tweet it to them and also follow @Tommyatthefarm. There are no prizes - it’s just a bit of fun and full details are available on the website www.tommyatthefarm.co.uk
The website notes that “Thomas likes swimming, singing and reading books. He is funny, brave and a fantastic little boy. He works hard every day and is very determined. With support and encouragement, there is no limit to what he could achieve.”