Peterborough fighter Leo overcomes cerebral palsy to complete Great Eastern Run

Great Eastern Run 2015:  Leo Waites finishes the Fun Run EMN-151110-182210009
Great Eastern Run 2015: Leo Waites finishes the Fun Run EMN-151110-182210009
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Five years ago Leo Waites had surgery to help him walk after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

And anyone who doubted whether the procedure was a success only had to see the nine-year-old tear through the streets of Peterborough to get a definitive answer.

In fact Leo the Lionheart, as he was dubbed last week, was so quick out of the blocks at the Perkins Great Eastern Run that mum Joanne Holland could not keep up with him.

Leo was taking part in the 5km Anna’s Hope Fun Run on Sunday where he was given loads of encouragement by spectators who knew his story and were urging him on to the finish line.

And not only did Leo make it all the way to the end, he had the energy to raise his arms in triumph and show off his well deserved gold medal to all around him.

For Joanne, of Hartley Avenue, Fengate, it was a moment to truly savour: “He did fantastic and enjoyed every moment of it,” she said.

“He was running and everyone knew who he was. They were saying ‘come on Leo’!”

And when Leo made it to the end of the run, it all proved too much for his family who burst into tears. “I do not show my emotions but that just took my breath away. That feeling of joy, that sense of achievement. It was amazing I cannot explain it,” added Joanne.

“He is chuffed to bits and took his medal to school to show his friends. I’m still buzzing and Leo is still smiling. We cannot believe he has done something like this.

“It’s the biggest thing he’s done since taking his first steps five years ago and he’s going to do it again next year.

“He has made me really proud.”

Leo was able to have surgery in America in 2010 after a Peterborough Telegraph campaign helped raise £46,000, and his run has so far raised over £900 which will go towards his physiotherapy.

Leo was one of thousands who turned out in record numbers on Sunday for the annual half-marathon, fun run and wheelchair race, with 3,953 people running the 13.1 miles which started and ended on the Embankment. To donate to Leo visit www.justgiving.com/HelpLeoWalk2014.