LIFE-CHANGING surgery has enabled a disabled teen to realise his dreams of one day driving an Aston Martin.
When Ben Baddeley’s fundraising battle to undergo a life-altering operation made national headlines, the Aston Martin fan was invited to the company’s headquarters in Gaydon, for a taste of life in the driver’s seat.
And following his surgery, the 13 year-old – whose cerebral palsy left him unable to walk and even struggling to sit down – was told the miraculous news that learning to drive would now one day be possible.
During his visit he was shown the brand new Aston Martin due to go on sale in November, sat in the Red Bull car driven by racing driver Max Verstappen, and was given a ride in an Aston Martin DB11.
Ben – who was sent home with a goody bag of merchandise and an Aston Martin Scalextric set – has been invited back to show the team his progress.
Mum Amy Baddeley said: “The visit was a dream come true and I would like to say a huge thank you to Aston Martin.
“Ben is doing amazingly well and is proving that this surgery and treatment works. He has always wanted to be able to drive when he is older and he has not long been told that he will have the capability to learn to drive as his development in his small motor skills and reactions has improved massively”
For years, Ben had been preparing for surgery that would finally allow him to take his first steps.
But news that the NHS could no longer fund the operation five days before it was due in 2015, left the family heartbroken.
Determined to fight the system, the family launched a national appeal with the BBC and Daily Mirror, which resulted in an anonymous donation of £11,000 to allow the costly surgery to go ahead.
And just hours after his surgery, Ben took his very first independent steps.
But the Staffordshire teen’s journey was far from over with an ongoing course of treatment needed to ensure his muscles develop correctly.
Ben wrote personally to the Prime Minister to ask why his physiotherapy could not be funded. And after a second letter, received an invitation to hand a letter personally to then Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street in 2016. But it was not the PM who answered the door, and his question remained unanswered.
The family continues to try to raise nearly £2,000 every month to afford Ben’s vital rehabilitation treatment through various activities and a donation page.
Visit www.gofundme.com/benbaddeley to help support Ben with his treatment.