A video showing an 8-year-old English boy afflicted with cerebral palsy finishing a triathlon on Saturday has gone viral, with millions of people sharing the boy’s inspirational story.
Bailey Matthews of Doncaster, England stole the show at the Castle Howard Triathlon in the English county of North Yorkshire on Saturday when he crossed the finish line at his first triathlon event. Bailey — after a 100 meter swim, 4,000 meter bike ride and 1,300 meter run — completed the last 20 meters of the race without his walker, completely unaided and on his own.
Hundreds gathered to support Bailey and witnessed the dramatic scene unfold as he crossed the line, something his mother thinks pushed him to finish.
“You can see his little face when he came round and saw everyone. That was his way of finishing in style and showing everyone what he could do,” Bailey’s mother Julie Matthews, 40, told the Yorkshire Post in regards to Bailey ditching his walker. “It was the response from the crowd that pushed him to do that.”
But, she made sure to clarify that Bailey wasn’t running the triathlon for attention.
“Bailey has always been very determined. If he wants to do something he will find a way to do it, even if it is not the conventional way,” Matthews said. “He has always struggled with getting dressed, things that parents of other children take for granted, he does struggle with, just every day things are more difficult for him, but he never lets it bother him. He doesn’t see himself as different to anyone else.”
And it appears that Bailey’s mother isn’t the only one touched by his perseverance and determination.
A Facebook post by the BBC news program “Look North” showing Bailey’s touching finish has been viewed over 8 million times already.
The video has inspired others dealing with cerebral palsy to share their stories and offer the young boy heartfelt messages of support.
“Bailey you little beauty my 2 year old daughter has cerebral palsy you have no idea how much you have just filled my heart with hope and love [sic],” reads one of the top comments, from Facebook user Amber Proudmummy Redfearn, on the post. “I know first hand how hard that must have been for you and me and Ava-Jean (my daughter) want to say a huge thank you for being such a beautiful little inspiration WELL DONE BAILEY!!”
“Such courage and determination. My 6 year old son has cerebral palsy and each time he hits a new high it makes life all the more special [sic],” read a similar comment from user Ady Johnson. “Absolutely brilliant well done to you bailey, what an inspiration!!!”
The support didn’t stop there. Many inside the triathlon community also took to Twitter to voice their support:
— SNAP Childcare (@SNAPChildcare) July 28, 2015
— 220Triathlon (@220Triathlon) July 28, 2015
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