A teenager with cerebral palsy has set his sights on the Paralympics after discovering an undeniable talent for a precision ball sport.
Thomas Ferry, aged 16, took up Boccia – a game with similarities to bowls – only a couple of years ago and has excelled.
The Sunderland schoolboy plays with SMILE through Sport, an organisation set up by Team GB’s Stephen Miller.
His family are overjoyed that he has found a new passion and believe that competing has given Thomas an opportunity to mix with other people with disabilities.
He recently clinched gold at the Boccia Heathcoat Cup Finals, held in Hertfordshire, and thus qualified to compete at the Boccia England Cup, where he had the chance to test his mettle against some of the country’s best players.
Mum Helen said: “It means a lot to us because he’s doing something he enjoys. He loves football and he can’t play it.
“It’s been so hard to find a sport that he loves and he can actually play and that he’s good at.”
The family are now trying to raise funds for Thomas to have his own set of Boccia balls, which will enable him to hone his skills at home.
Stephen Miller’s wife, Rachel, who has worked closely with the teenager as part of the SMILE through Sport initiative paid tribute to his tenacity.
“Thomas has been taking part in Boccia for only three years,” she said. “In that time he has gone from a complete beginner to winning Gold in the Regional and then National Heathcoat finals in 2017.
“Thomas is a very determined young man and is willing to train and work really hard to get where he wants to be. The only thing holding him back at the minute is not having his own equipment. I’m excited to think what he will be able to achieve next year with this equipment.
At EnViva Paediatric Care, our experienced staff can provide complex nurse-managed homecare for babies, children and young people with a range of disabling conditions including cerebral palsy. For more information about the services we provide, please contact us today.