A LITTLE boy whose bones failed to fuse properly is finally standing tall.
Ten-year-old Thomas Defty was diagnosed with pseudarthrosis as a baby and it took six years for the bones in his right leg to join together.
After many operations, it is now straight, but last year he had to have his foot amputated to give him a better quality of life.
Dad Gary, 43, of Steward Crescent, South Shields, has nominated him for Child of Courage in the Pride of South Tyneside Awards 2013.
He said: “Thomas is a bubbly, chatty little boy who just bounces back all the time.”
Thomas, who lives in Gateshead with mum Nicola Defty, 42, and sister Beth, 13, was also diagnosed with cancer at the age of seven months.
A tumour was found on his bladder, but surgeons were unable to remove it, so he had chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink it.
Ms Defty said: “It lies dormant, so he has to go for regular check-ups.”
Thomas is unable to ride a bike or a scooter like other boys his age, but since being fitted with a false limb in January, he’s been given a new lease of life.
He asked the doctor himself for one, after seeing a torch bearer at last year’s Paralympics, with no legs and only one arm, using prosthetic limbs.
Ms Defty said: “He can walk about with it on but he can’t walk distance, so he’s got a wheelchair.
“He gets around and he can play out and things.
“It has helped him. Buying a pair of shoes was so hard, because he had to have them made up.
“Now I can just go out and buy him a pair of shoes.
“Being able to wear proper shoes and football boots isn’t a lot to ask for.”
The first pair of shoes Thomas bought was a pair of football boots and the Manchester United fan loves to have a kickabout.
Ms Defty said: “He’s adapted really well, better than anyone thought he would in such a short space of time, but that’s Thomas, nothing gets him down.
“He just wants to play football and do wrestling.
“It hasn’t held him back.
“I think it’s fabulous that he’s been nominated for this award.
“I’m as proud as punch of him.
“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be.
“It’s his positivity that keeps me going and I am proud of him every single day.”
The Pride of South Tyneside Awards, organised by the Gazette, South Tyneside Council and the Customs Hose, recognise the borough’s unsung heroes.
Ten awards will be handed out in a glittering ceremony at the Temple Park Centre in South Shields on Sunday, April 28.