Boy, 4, learns to use legs again after being paralysed by HEART ATTACK

Heartwarming moment a four-year-old boy left paralysed following a HEART ATTACK at the age of one learns to use his legs again with the help of an electric scooter

  • Jasper Thornton-Jones was one when he had a heart attack and spinal stroke 
  • It was a tragic side effect after he contracted hand, foot and mouth virus
  • The stroke left Jasper paralysed from the waist down and unable use his legs 
  • His parents have sought the best medical help in the hope he can walk 
  • Experts in BBC Two’s The Big Life Fix Jasper gets limbs out of atrophy
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This is the heartwarming moment a four-year-old boy learns to move his legs again after he was left partially paralysed from the waist down from hand, foot and mouth disease.

Jasper Thornton-Jones, from Surrey, was just one when he suffered a heart attack and subsequent spinal stroke due to side effects of the infection.

Over the years his doting parents, Felix and Kate, sought the very best medical care to enable their son to help him walk, which has so far seen him build enough strength to crawl.

But thanks to a custom-built pedal-operated electric scooter, Jasper is now learning to use his calf muscles.

The youngster’s family appeared on BBC Two’s The Big Life Fix this week where two experts were enlisted to help provide innovative technology to help build up his leg strength.  


Appearing on The Big Life Fix this week, viewers became emotional watching Jasper Thornton-Jones, from Surrey, learn to walk again with the help of an electric scooter (pictured). Jasper was just one when he suffered a heart attack and subsequent spinal stroke in hospital


Jasper Thorton-Jones’s parents have sought the best medical treatment for their son, now four, which has so far seen him build enough strength to crawl (pictured) but hope that with more help he will be able to walk following a heart attack which left him partially paralysed

In addition to his scooter, Jasper was given a video game using movement sensors to perfect a stepping motion needed to walk. 

His father recalled how Jasper was rushed to hospital because he looked a little ‘off’ in colour, but things went from bad to worse when the infant suffered a heart attack – later revealed to be the result of hand, foot and mouth disease.

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Jasper spent two weeks on life support, during which he had a spinal stroke resulting in partial paralysis in both of his legs.

The NHS provided Jasper with a leg and body brace to support an upright position, but this did little to stimulate muscle control, as pointed out by Haiyan Jiang, Microsoft’s innovation director, during the show. 


Jasper Thornton-Jones, from Surrey, was one when he was struck down with hand, foot and mouth virus. He was left partially paralysed from the waist down after a complication from the illness (pictured in hospital)


Four-year-old Jasper Thornton-Jones, from Surrey (pictured in hospital) spent two weeks on life support, during which he had a spinal stroke resulting in partial paralysis in both of his legs, but he is now learning to walk again thanks to cutting-edge technology


In the BBC series The Big Life Fix, which sees the UK’s leading inventors build life-changing solutions for people in desperate need, paralysed four-year-old Jasper (pictured with dad Felix, left) enlisted the help of inventor Yusuf Muhammad (right)


Innovation director at Microsoft Haiyan Jiang (pictured during the BBC’s The Big Life Fix this week) has helped to develop technology that could help partially paralysed Jasper Thorton-Jones move his legs in a way that wouldn’t feel like a chore but ‘fun’


Jasper Thornton Jones’s parents Kate and Felix (pictured, helping him learn to walk) have sought the best medical care for their son. The NHS provided him with a brace but although it was used for alignment it wasn’t helping him gain muscle strength


During his physiotherapy sessions (pictured) Jasper Thornton-Jones learned how to ride a tricycle, but his physiotherapist explained that he was relying on his core muscles to push the pedals as he was in a seated position


 Strapped into a harness in a standing position Jasper could just about pedal the cycles but found it difficult because of his weakened leg muscles. Inventor Yusuf wanted to use the elliptical element as a basis for his invention

In the BBC series, which sees the UK’s leading inventors build life-changing solutions for people in desperate need, Jiang enlisted the help of inventor Yusuf Muhammad. 

The pair observed Jasper with his physiotherapist to see how strong he was, and watched him test out a tricycle that he was able to pedal using his core muscles.

Jasper’s physiotherapist wanted the youngster to activate his lower leg muscles and glutes, both of which are vital to his ability to walk.

Muhammad decided to optimise the elliptical motion Jasper can already do by building a contraption that enabled him to stand in an upright position. 


Microsoft engineer Jiang took movement sensors and attach them to Jasper’s legs so that he could turn the movement into control for a video game (pictured)


This is the heartwarming moment Jasper Thornton Jones learns to use his legs again thanks to a unique electric scooter made especially for him on the BBC’s The Big Life Fix


Experts observed Jasper with his physiotherapist (pictured) to see how strong he was, and watched him test out a tricycle that he was able to pedal using his core muscles

Jiang’s idea was to take movement sensors and attach them to Jasper’s legs so that he could turn the movement into control for a video game. 

After getting to work, the pair returned to Surrey to present their designs to Jasper and his family.

The scooter wasn’t quite the initial success Muhammad had hoped for as Jasper still had to use his hands to push his legs down on the pedals to activate the motion.

Muhammad  promised to make adjustments to make the pedals more sensitive and encourage him to push with just his legs.

While Jiang used the standing part of Yusuf’s scooter for Jasper to sit in, attaching bands fitted with movement sensors, to let the youngster play on his video game.



 


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It hooked up to a computer game that motivated Jasper’s legs and use his muscles to control the avatar – pushing him to stamp and step down, which are the motions they wanted.

Pleased with the results, Jiang said: ‘I’m really hopeful that he’ll be able to walk and I’m really thankful that we’ve played some part in that.’

Jasper’s parents were equally pleased, with his father Felix saying: ‘I was pleased to see him giggling and light up when he got going, in that moment you’re capturing where this can get to.’

Mum Kate added: ‘We have come up against this attitude that nothing can be done and we really appreciate you guys doing what you’ve done for him.’

Jasper has also received cutting-edge physical therapy at a specialist clinic in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as attending Neurokinex Kids five times a week. 

You can donate to help fund further treatment at Jasper’s Journey on the Tree of Hope. 

Inventing the Impossible: The Big Life Fix is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now  

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection characterised by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. 

The condition is not related to foot-and-mouth disease found in farm animals.

It is most common in children under five, with outbreaks occurring at nurseries and schools.

HFMD can be passed through the air or coming into close contact with a person who hasn’t washed their hands after using the bathroom. 

Signs and symptoms:   

  • Fever 
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Painful, red, blister-like lesions in mouth
  • Irritability in infants and toddlers
  • Loss of appetite 

Treatment:

HFMD is usually not serious and does not require treatment. However, it can cause secondary infections if skin is scratched.

Treatment focuses on adequate fluid intake, a soft diet and painkillers, if necessary.

 Source: Mayo Clinic

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