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Brave amputee Harvey, 5, starts school with new legs
A BRAVE five-year-old from Enfield will make the walk to school his devoted parents feared would never happen after losing his legs to meningitis as a toddler.
Smiling Harvey Parry first won the public's hearts in 2007 with his bubbly personality when an appeal was launched to get prosthetic legs that would enable him to run, walk and ride a bicycle like other children his age.
At just 15 months old, he was diagnosed with life-threatening meningitis virus meningococcal septicemia B and to save his life, both of his legs were amputated. Three-and-a-half fingers on his right hand were also lost, and his left-hand is partially paralysed as a result of the virus.
Thanks to the specially built limbs, only available in the US, Harvey will now start mainstream school for the first time at Honilands Primary, in Lovell Road.
He spent weeks in America learning to walk with the new legs, and special techniques to manage simple tasks like going to the toilet that many take for granted.
For any parent, it is a memorable landmark but for Carol and Jonathan Parry, it symbolises the independent life for Harvey they have always dreamed of.
Through tears, his mother said: "I did not know how much I had wanted this for Harvey, until the day arrived. We were so worried he would never be able to have what you could call a normal life. To know that he was able to get up, get dressed and walk to school like any other boy just makes me so happy.
"Harvey has been through all the emotions. He's nervous - scared that he won't make any friends. Then excited about making new friends. He's such a happy little boy, I know he will be fine."
Paying tribute to the public and the family's supporters, Mrs Parry added: "This day is only possible because of the kind hearts and generosity of the public. They have given so much and it is only because of them that Harvey will walk to school today."
Community organisations that have supported the Parry family by organising fundraising events includes Edmonton Rotary Club, Raynham School, in Edmonton, Greggs Bakery, in Oakwood, and Churchfield Primary School.
But, despite the celebrations, the ongoing battle to give Harvey an independent life is expensive and the family have had their new home, in Lilac Avenue, customised to suit their son's needs including levelling their garden where Harvey rides his bike.
His legs, fitted in Florida in April, are already becoming too tight following a summer growth spurt, and he is also in need of a wheelchair to help him manoeuvre around the school if he gets tired.
Further funds need to be raised and his family have called on the public for their help once more.
Mrs Parry added: "I lay awake at night worrying that his new legs will only last so long. I don't want to have his new-found independence taken away just as he was starting to get used to it.
"If anyone can help, please do. Even 50p or a £1 can make a difference."
To play a part in ensuring Harvey enjoys his first year of school, you can donate to the Harvey Parry Appeal Fund or organise a fundraising event. Visit harveyparry-appealfund.com for further details.