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Captain Tom Moore inspires Rutland schoolboy Barney Cooper to complete a wheelchair marathon during lockdown after he was diagnosed with the rare condition complex regional pain syndrome

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A schoolboy who was inspired by the fundraising efforts of Captain Tom Moore is taking on his own marathon challenge.

Barney Cooper has been forced to rely on crutches and a wheelchair since suffering an ankle injury at a soft play centre in November.

After two months of excruciating pain he was finally diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome.

The Cooper family
The Cooper family

The rare condition affects the nervous system and means he suffers constant pain which is thought to be on a par with giving birth.

Mum Ali says it has had a huge impact on Barney’s life but the family have found a new focus with their fundraising mission.

She said: “We wanted him to have something positive to focus on.

Barney Cooper
Barney Cooper

“There’s obviously the physical side of his condition, and it’s like torture to have to put up with that level of pain, but the mental side is massive.

“His confidence has taken a real knock.”

Nine-year-old Barney has pledged to complete a marathon while the country is in lockdown.

His self-propelled wheelchair has given a new sense of independence and after being inspired by Captain Moore walking 100 laps of his garden, Barney got off to a flying start.

Barney and Immi Cooper
Barney and Immi Cooper

He clocked up 2.68 miles on his first day and has already smashed his £750 target for the NHS.

Ali, 39, said: “He’s like a different person because this has given him a sense of purpose. It’s really sad for someone his age to feel they don’t have a purpose.”

The family, including dad Andrew and six-year-old sister Immi, will continue to clock up the miles around their home village of Empingham.

Ali said: “Immi has been setting the pace for Barney.

Barney Cooper starts his marathon challenge with sister Immi
Barney Cooper starts his marathon challenge with sister Immi

“She adores her brother and is his little shadow. She does a lot for him but wants him to get better so he can run around after her instead!”

Most of the therapy for Barney’s condition, has been cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown.

He qualifies for NHS treatment but if his appointments haven’t been rescheduled by September, the family plan to travel to a specialist clinic in America.

While there Barney would have four sessions of therapy a week for 10 weeks, costing around £40,000.

Ali said: “It would be great if we don’t have to go, but we needed to have something in place to fall back on.

“I don’t know how we’ll fund it, but when it comes to your child’s health you don’t have a choice.

“He can’t even cope with a feather touching his toes and has pain constantly.

“It breaks my heart to see the look on his face when he’s watching his friends playing and he can’t join in.”

Click here to sponsor Barney.

Also: Runner completes a garden marathon for the NHS

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