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14-Year-Old Boy Who Was Told He May Never Walk Again Completes Marathon After Life-Saving Brain Surgery

PA Media - The Children's Hospital Charity

Ben Mattocks was told he may never walk again after suffering from a rare brain infection. But he proved everyone wrong when he completed a marathon in six days to raise money for the hospital that saved his life.

Ben Mattocks underwent two operations and spent 10 weeks in Sheffield Children's Hospital after contracting the infection in January.

Despite a “long and difficult journey" to regain his movement, he took his first steps and has continued to take part in physiotherapy sessions over video calls for the time being.

Ben MattocksThe 14-year-old walked a marathon in six days to raise money for Sheffield Children's Hospital (The Children's Hospital Charity/PA)PA Media - The Children's Hospital Charity

Mattocks was taken to the High Dependency Unit at Sheffield Children's Hospital in a critical condition after he fell ill with the infection, triggered by sinusitis.

He had an operation to clear the infection and underwent a craniotomy to remove part of his skull and relieve the pressure on his brain.

The teenager spent the next 10 weeks on the dedicated neurosciences ward at the hospital and received support from the speech, language and physiotherapy teams.

Lucy Wrens, his mother, said her son wanted to “give something back" to the hospital for their “outstanding" care and decided to walk the length of a marathon over six days raising $2,100 for The Children's Hospital Charity.

“Ben was a very active child, attending the gym five times a week and he loved to play sport, everything from swimming to football. The change was so sudden. It was heartbreaking seeing him not able to move or respond to us," Wrens said.

Ben MattocksThe hospital saved Ben's life after he suffered a rare brain infection (The Children's Hospital Charity/PA)PA Media - The Children's Hospital Charity

“Following his surgery, Ben faced the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair and began a long and difficult journey to regain both his movement and strength," she continued.

“The care he received at Sheffield Children's was outstanding, it was second-to-none. The staff are angels in disguise, every single one of them we encountered was fantastic."

And he wanted to show his appreciation.

“Ben wanted to give something back. He has faced some very dark and difficult times over the last few months but has overcome every hurdle that has stood in his way," Wrens added.

“He is an inspiration to us all. We can't thank everyone enough for their generous donations, which have seen Ben smash his target."

Ben MattocksBen was told he may never be able to walk again but took his first steps six weeks ago (The Children's Hospital Charity/PA)PA Media - The Children's Hospital Charity

The money raised by Mattocks will go towards helping the hospital during the pandemic and beyond.

“It is really moving to hear about Ben's treatment and I'm really pleased to hear he has made such a strong recovery following the life-saving care he received at Sheffield Children's," Abbie Pervin, regional fundraising manager at The Children's Hospital Charity, said.

“To walk a marathon so soon after his treatment is an incredible achievement, We're really thankful to Ben, his family and everyone who generously supported his challenge in these difficult times."

The charity has seen fundraising decline by more than 60% during lockdown as a result of cancelled or postponed events.

But they continue to help their employees and patients however they can.

Donations can be made online at