FUND-raising police officers will tackle a different kind of adversary this weekend to help a spirited four-year-old Rugby boy live a full and independent life.
Warwickshire Police’s rugby team will play Old Laurentians (OLs) on Saturday (March 12) to raise money for Ronnie Shore, who developed cerebral palsy due to being born prematurely at 28 weeks.
The match came about because Ronnie’s dad Joe is a serving Warwickshire Police officer who used to play for the OLs.
Ronnie – who turned four yesterday (Wednesday March 9) – is fully reliant on Joe and mum Rebecca. His condition affects all of his limbs, and he also suffers from epilepsy and a visual impairment. He needs needs specialist therapy to help train his body to do what comes naturally to most children – roll, sit, crawl, walk, speak and swallow.
But time is of the essence, as the ‘fight for Ronnie’s brain’ will become less effective the older he gets – so with help from charity Just4Children, Rebecca and Joe launched the Remarkable Ronnie appeal to raise £30,000 for intensive therapy which is not available on the NHS.
Joe told The Observer: “Ronnie is progressing and we are still fully committed to giving him as much independence as we can. He still requires around the clock care.
“He tries so hard with his therapy. He has been determined since day one, and works so hard despite how exhausting it is for him. He currently sees a private physio every week and goes to swimming lessons every weekend – his favourite activity.
“He is currently in a nursery setting with one-to-one support and will be going to school in September.”
He said Ronnie’s bright personality helps him and Rebecca to stay positive.
“He is a cheeky little chap,” Joe said. “He has a beautiful, funny personality and despite his challenges, he is a happy little boy.
“Ronnie brightens up everyone’s day with his cheeky grin. People see how hard he tries and are influenced by how brave he is.
“Seeing him develop is awe-inspiring for us and we couldn’t be prouder.”
He said Ronnie needed treatment as soon as possible because his body’s potential will give up on him the older he gets.
“That’s why it is so important for us to strike now and get Ronnie the treatment he needs and deserves to live a full life, one of happiness and independence.
“As he grows, caring for Ronnie is getting more difficult and soon we will be looking into adaptations for the home.
“The sky is the limit for our fighter, and helping Remarkable Ronnie to reach his potential would be the most immense gift we could ever give him.”
He and Rebecca have been overwhelmed with the help they have had with their fund-raising efforts – with over 1,000 supporters having helped them to raise over £25,200 so far.
“Fundraising is going amazingly,” Joe said. “It feels incredible that so many people want to help Ronnie. We are very thankful for amazing friends and family.”
The rugby match kicks off at 2.15pm on Saturday (March 12) at Old Laurentians Rugby Club in Lime Tree Avenue, Bilton. A charity raffle will be held, as well as an auction for items including signed tops from Wasps and Connacht rugby clubs, and six tickets to the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens at the Ricoh Arena. The Six Nations match between England and Ireland will be shown in the bar after the match.
Visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/RemarkableRonnie to donate to the Remarkable Ronnie appeal.