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Martin is Essex's child of courage
9:00am Wednesday 25th December 2013 in Local News
A TEENAGER confined to a wheelchair has won an award for his courage.
Martin Bennett, 13, of Parsons Heath, Colchester, has learned to swim, raises money for charity and has taken part in a medical trial, despite having a musclewasting condition.
His mum, Jill Ablitt, nominated Martin for the Pride of Essex awards and judges have named him this year’s Child of Courage.
Jill, 45, said: “He finds everyday life quite challenging, but he has done quite a few things.”
Martin was diagnosed with Type 2 spinal muscular atrophy at the age of two.
The Gilberd School pupil has been a member of the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, and abseiled down the tower at Thorrington Scout camp.
He learnt to swim at Lexden Springs School – swimming on his front with a snorkel because his neck is too weak to lift his head out of the water.
Martin also helps the Colchester branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign at its sales and with street collections.
Jill said: “Recentlyhe has taken part in a drugs trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“There is no treatment for his condition. He had to take an oillike medicine every day and go back to Great Ormond Street for tests and physiotherapy.
“They are still collating the results.”
In February, Martin successfully underwent a full spinal fusion operation because he suffered from curvature of the spine.
During the five-hour procedure, rods were inserted to enable Martin to sit up straight.
He was in hospital for two weeks and off school for a further six, but still tookakeen interest in his studies, particularly maths.
Martin, an aspiring lawyer, said: “It really is an honour to receive the award. I can’t believe I won it.”
Martin was one of five youngsters nominated in his category
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