Becci stared in amazement as her little boy, Finaly, four, lifted both hands off the table and edged his left foot and then his right foot forward.
He had just taken his first ever steps and right beside him was his side-kick, Ming-Ming, the duck.
“Look at me Mummy, look at me!” Finlay shouted at Becci as he proudly took his first steps, his little face beaming with joy.
Becci cried with happiness as she watched her four year old boy take her first steps unaided for the first time in his life and it was all down to a disabled duck.
She thought that her little boy would be restricted to a wheelchair for life and after all they had been through, she never thought that giving a poorly duckling a home would give her son the strength to walk.
Finlay was born premature at 26 weeks and due to a traumatic birth he suffered from brain damage but it wasn’t clear how much he would be affected until he was six months old.
“Although Finlay had spent the start of his life in intensive care on a ventilator, we didn’t realise to what extent his brain damage had affected him until he got to six months. He couldn’t sit up and wasn’t developing at the same rate as other babies his age,” says Becci.
Doctors realised that Finlay had extensive damage to the grey area in his brain and told Becci that he may never walk.
“We never knew if Finlay would ever walk or not as doctors just told us it was a case of seeing how well he develops.”
But Becci was determined to help her son develop and prove the doctors wrong.
Every day she gave him as much support as possible by going through daily exercises to strengthen his legs and giving him lots of encouragement and praise.
Finlay started to progress really well but he could still only walk with the support of a Zimmer-frame.
When Finlay was four Becci adopted a disabled duck who had a splayed leg.
She saw him at a friends farm and decided that she had to take him home for Finlay.
“I adored him when I saw him and just wanted to take care of him. He reminded me so much of Finlay with his little splinted leg, I just wanted to give him a good home.”
When Becci showed him to Finlay he’s eyes lit up.
He decided to call him Ming-Ming as it was the hero from his favourite cartoon and always saved the day.
“When Finlay first looked at Ming-Ming and noticed his leg and little splinter it was like he finally had something to relate too.”
The duckling and his splinter had finally made things clear to Finlay. He wasn’t the only one.
Together they started to practice walking and Becci watched in amazement as Finlay progressed faster in a few months than he had done in four years.
“It was so cute to watch Finlay with Ming-Ming. It was like he wanted to impress both of us with what he could achieve and would compete with Ming-Ming to be better than him.
“Whenever I clapped and praised Ming-Ming, Finlay would shout ‘Look at me Mummy, look at me!'”
As the pair became inseparable Ming-Ming helped Finlay to realise that he was different but he could still achieve what he wanted.
“Little Ming-Ming would obviously stand on one leg so Finlay decided to start copying him, perching on one leg and looking so happy, I couldn’t help but smile at the two of them, wobbling around.”
“Ming-Ming really saved the day for us. He helped my little boy to walk and I will never really be able to explain how much that means to me.”