Dan Black (right) has given up his dream of walking again to help five-year-old Brecon Vaughan (left) take his first unaided steps
Four years ago, Dan Black was paralysed in a cycling accident. Ever since, he has been raising money for pioneering stem cell treatment which could one day help him walk again.
But now, after collecting £20,000, the 25-year-old has given it all away – so a little boy can learn to walk instead.
Mr Black abandoned his own dream after hearing about five-year-old Brecon Vaughan, who lives near him just outside Chepstow, in South Wales.
Brecon was born with rare spastic diplegia cerebral palsy which causes stiffness in his legs, poor balance and coordination.
He has to use a walking frame to get around, and his family are desperately trying to raise £60,000 for an operation in America to help him walk unaided for the first time.
Mr Black, who is wheelchair-bound, said he made the extraordinary gesture because Brecon had a better chance of walking than he does.
‘I know for me that things aren’t going to get better any time soon,’ he said. ‘I just wanted to do something that could help someone whose life could get better.
‘Brecon can definitely walk if he has the surgery. I wouldn’t wish being paralysed on anyone, so if I can help someone walk, I will.’
He continued: ‘While there is hope for Brecon, I will do everything I can, because I don’t want to see a young boy suffer.
‘I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped me out but this boy needs it more than I do at the moment.
‘It would make me very happy to see the difference made to Brecon’s life. I just hope when I give the money it encourages others to [give].’
The treatment Mr Black was hoping to get is in development. While there has been progress in trials abroad, it would be at least five years before he could be helped.
Mr Black was knocked off his bike by a car in 2009, as he cycled to work at Tesco.
He broke a vertebrae which left him paralysed from the chest down. He also suffered a stroke as he recovered in hospital, which left him without the use of his right arm.
He requires 24-hour care at his home in Llanvair Discoed, near Chepstow, which costs £180,000 a year.
The family will use the money to pay for Brecon to have surgery in the U.S. The treatment should allow him to take his first unaided steps and to run around with his friends
Mr Black (pictured before his accident) says that he made the decision because the surgery will make more difference to Brecon that stem cell treatment would to him
Mr Black (pictured before his accident) needs round-the-clock care and knows that stem cell treatment is his only hope of walking. Even if it could help him, he would not be able to have treatment for five years
Brecon was born with two dislocated hips. He was put in a pelvic harness at five days old, and had had three operations by the time he was 13 months.
Mr Black's mother, Michaela, said: 'That little boy needs to be out playing football with his friends in the sunshine, not at home asking his mummy why he can't. I'm so proud of Daniel'
His family, from the nearby village of Mathern, are desperately trying to find £60,000 to send him to America for a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy.
His mother Ann Drewery, 44, described Mr Black’s £20,000 gift as ‘phenomenal’. The family had already raised just over £11,000, so they now have more than half of the £60,000.
She said: ‘What Dan has done is brilliant. So many people have helped Brecon and we are grateful to them all.’
Brecon’s father Rob Vaughan, also 44, added: ‘Dan has given us a phenomenal amount of money. I don’t think it is even possible to say how grateful we are, or to put into words what it means.
‘It is incredible. How do you even start saying thank you for something like that?’
Yesterday Mr Black’s mother Michaela said: ‘It’s heartwarming what Daniel has done. It’s crazy that that young lad Brecon could be able to walk, if he had the money.
‘Daniel can’t walk, not right now, and he accepts that. That little boy needs to be out playing football with his friends in the sunshine, not at home asking his mummy why he can’t. I’m so proud of Daniel.’