A young boy from England who had both legs amputated due to neglect from his parents has raised more than $1 million for the hospital that cared for him.
Tony Hudgell has been able to raise a total of $1.24 million, by walking 10 kilometers on his prosthetic legs.
Paula Hudgell and her husband adopted the boy in 2016, said he received both his artificial legs in February and has now managed to complete his goal of walking 6.2 miles in June to raise money for the hospital. The fundraising challenge seems to have been inspired by the 95-year-old British man who walked around his garden 100 times to raise 33 million pounds.
🐻 Is loving walking 🙏
His new trainers for walking so well last month finally arrived!!@Nike #nike #niketrainers#legend #GoTonyGo #doubleamputee @CatapultClothi1 #thisboycan #inspiredbycaptaintom #differentlyabled #JustDoIt #Hero #millionpoundboy #fundraiser @EvelinaLondon pic.twitter.com/65aKUjASr9
— Tony Hudgell BEAR @bearsjourney (@paula_hudgell) July 6, 2020
Tony said his June walking challenge was “really fun,” but that is also felt “really good” to have it completed. He had initially set a target of 500 pounds but kept increasing it as support rolled in.
Paula Hudgell never thought that her adopted son would be able to walk 10 km when she first met him as a 4-month-old in Evelina London Children’s Hospital. “He’d had all his limbs broken, he’d had blood trauma to the face, sepsis, multi-organ failure, and they never expected him to survive,” she said. “We took him home.”
👏 This is the moment Tony Hudgell completed his 10km walking challenge. 👏
On #BBCBreakfast we've followed @paula_hudgell and Tony's story from the start ⤵️
More here: https://t.co/D7OCd2OOq1 pic.twitter.com/3vwrgFgK6d
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 1, 2020
At the time, she said, Tony was “broken, shutdown, a tiny, tiny underweight little boy.” She and her husband, also named Tony, adopted the boy because “[w]e didn’t want him to go anywhere else, he was our little boy by then,” she said.
Consultant Michail Kokkinakis said that family support and the boy’s determination have brought him through very difficult years. “I have seen him thriving, I have seen him becoming this very confident and bright young boy he is today,” he said. “He’s a huge inspiration to us all.”
Paula Hudgell said her son’s ability to walk has inspired her. “[It] is incredible to think just three and half weeks ago he could barely take a few steps.” The boy said his next challenge is a “hard question,” and has set a career goal for himself. “I want to handcuff bad people and robbers,” he said.
The hospital has thanked the boy for his actions. “Paula has been giving us regular updates and we’ve been amazed at his progress,” Caroline Gormley, associate director of fundraising at the hospital, said in a statement. “His strength and the generosity of everyone who has donated will make such an incredible difference. He has made everyone at Evelina London so proud.”
Jody Simpson and Tony Smith, his birth parents, were convicted of child cruelty in 2018 and are currently serving prison terms, according to the BBC.