Zach sees the world better thanks to trike; condition leaves youngster unable to walk - but now there's no stopping him.
Byline: BETHANY LODGE firstname.lastname@example.org @bethlodge1
THREE-YEAR-OLD Zach Connor beams with pride as he trundles his first bike around the park.
The tot, from Billingham, has a rare genetic condition which leaves him unable to walk.
But he is now able to enjoy family time in the outdoors thanks to the donation of the specially-designed tricycle.
Mum Rachel, 29, said: "We go out on it pretty much rain or shine. He loves holding an ice lolly in one hand and riding it around.
"Zach being able to go to the park is amazing. We can stick the trike in the car and we can go anywhere.
"His wheelchair is quite low, but now he can see the world better.
"He's got more support now. He's got no movement in his legs but now he can go out on his trike he's able to experience a lot more.
"He can be a typical three-yearold."
Zach, who attends High Flyers nursery in Thornaby, has hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). The name covers a group of inherited disorders that cause weakness and stiffness in the leg muscles.
It is thought to affect three in every 100,000 people.
Parents Rachel and Ian Connor, both shop workers, say they do not know whether Zach will ever learn to walk.
He struggles to bear weight on his legs and can only crawl, which means he cannot spend long periods of time outside.
To add to Zach's struggles, he is currently undergoing tests for suspected Autism.
Rachel explained the unhappy genetic coincidence that meant Zach developed the condition much earlier than he should have.
"Ian's father has HSP, but he only got it when he was in his 30s. Zach had normal milestones until he was about one, and we never put two and two together.
"It's because of a gene on my side that he's got it so early in life.
"We try to understand it as much as we can. He will never be able to properly walk but we are keeping our fingers crossed.
"He does get pulled and stretched with his physio, but I couldn't ask for a son with better temperament."
Zach, who loves anything to do with trains, will go to Ash Trees school in September.
The trike, donated by local charity Remembering Rebecca, not only allows Zach his freedom, but helps with physiotherapy on his legs.
"I can't really fault them, they are amazing.
"The equipment we need is so expensive. We wouldn't have been able to afford it ourselves."
To see a video, log on to www.gazettelive.co.uk
Zach Connor loves riding his new trike in the park with parents Rachel and Ian ian cooper