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Josh on his walk of pride
Buy this photo » Inspirational: Josh Humphries.
A CEREBRAL palsy sufferer who survived a miraculous premature birth will walk more than 60 miles around the Isle of Wight after bravely overcoming his health issues.
Inspirational Josh Humph-ries weighed less than a bag of sugar when he was born three months premature, which also left him with movement difficulties down his right side and only 50 per cent hearing in one ear.
His miracle birth was featured in The Shuttle in February 1993.
Twenty years later, he is now preparing for his first big challenge alone and will be tackling a coastal nature circumnavigaton of the Isle of Wight to raise cash for a South African adventure he will be embarking on later this year.
Mr Humphries, who admits to struggling through school, is now studying conservation ecology at the University of Worcester, which has been the driving force for his challenge.
He plans to walk 69 miles around the island in three days from March 22 to raise £2,500 for the two-week African trip as part of a conservation management research programme in June.
“I love walking so it’s a personal challenge for myself,” said Mr Humphries, of Dunlin Drive, Kidderminster, who will be celebrating his 20th birthday on Sunday.
“I’m going to be making a nature log as I walk around and will be taking pictures of interesting things I see.
“I’m really proud of myself. I keep getting reminded by my family how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve come on.
“It’s a big achievement for me to get to university. I couldn’t learn my times tables, even through high school. I think one day I decided I really wanted to improve myself and I just focused.”
He added: “I enjoy everything to do with nature. I’m really excited but a bit apprehensive because it’s the first time I will be doing a walk like this by myself.”
Josh’s development has shocked his father Mark, who said he “never thought he would get this far” after he was born weighing only 1lb 8oz.
He puts his son’s survival down to a lung lubrication drug the hospital was testing at the time of his birth.
“They had to revive him,” Mark told The Shuttle. “He was in hospital for two months and when he came out he couldn’t go outside because his lungs weren’t fully developed.”
He added: “He has come on amazingly in the last few years. For him to have organised this walk is amazing.
“Whenever he does something he grows in confidence. I’m really proud. He is certainly an inspiration for other children with similar issues.”
People can sponsor Josh on his website walkforafrica.moonfruit.com