Dad to take on mammoth charity ride for his son

Rob Crawshaw with his son Ollie, 2.

Rob Crawshaw with his son Ollie, 2.

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A LOVING father is about to undertake a gruelling challenge to raise money for his son who suffers from a rare condition which leaves him unable to walk or stand up without help.

Ollie Crawshaw, of Holly Avenue, Whitley Bay, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy last year, shortly after his second birthday.

The condition affects Ollie’s voluntary muscles, which are used for crawling and walking.

Now nearly three, his legs are so weak and underdeveloped, he is unable to walk or stand up unaided.

Ollie’s dad Rob, a police constable at Gateshead, is doing a sponsored bike ride around 27 police stations in the Northumbria area to raise money for a hydraulic wheelchair, which would allow Ollie to elevate and lower himself to a standing position.

The 37-year-old will set off on Monday and hopes to complete the 260 mile course in just 24 hours.

“I know it’s going to be hard, especially if the weather is too hot or very wet but I only need to think about Ollie and know I would do it again and again,” Rob said.

“Ollie will be three a few days before so this is the best birthday present we could ever get him.”

Although Rob has already smashed his £15,000 target needed to buy the wheelchair he is hoping the bike ride will still encourage people to donate so he and his wife Nicola, 38, can use the extra funds to buy Ollie more specialist equipment.

Nicola said: “Like all parents we want Ollie to be able to explore and have independence.

“This wheelchair will enable him to change heights so that he can play at floor level or talk to people at eye level.

“Because of its manoeuvrability it also means he can use it at home.

“Standard wheelchairs are too bulky for home use and difficult for someone as young as Ollie to manoeuvre.”

Staff at Kids 1st Rake Lane nursery recently held their own charity bike ride for Ollie, which raised £700.

The group cycled from the nursery in North Shields to St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay.

Anyone wishing to support Rob can donate to www.justgiving.com/olliecrawshaw