If there were more people around like Dan Black, the world would be a much better place. His generosity in the face of much personal adversity truly is remarkable.
In 2009 Dan, then aged 22 was involved in a tragic cycling accident that left him paralysed from the chest down. Dan also suffered a stroke as he recovered in hospital, leaving him unable to use his right arm.
As he began to come to terms with his new life in a wheel chair, Dan learned about a pioneering stem cell treatment that could possibly help him walk again.
He then set out to raise the money in order to pay for the surgery. Over 4 years he managed to raise £22,000 from various fund raising activities and the operation was in sight.
However, in 2013 Dan read about the plight of a 5 year old boy named Brecon Vaughn, from Chepstow, UK.
Brecon suffers from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. His condition meant the nerves in his spine receive scrambled signals from his brain.
Brecon’s family were desperate for him to undergo surgery that would cut these nerves and loosen the tendons in his legs. They were saving up for an operation in the U.S. to do this.
Once Dan heard about Brecon’s story he knew he had to help.
Dan told the Daily Mirror:
“I donated £1,000 of my own money. But when I stopped to think, I realised I could give him the money I’d raised for myself as well – his treatment had a better chance of success.
“I’d had 22 years of walking before my accident. But Brecon had never known what it was like even for 22 seconds.”
At the time Brecon’s fund stood at £11,000. Dan’s money gave it a huge boost and the publicity generated by his kindness prompted more to donate.
Thanks to this overwhelming generosity, it wasn’t long before Brecon was flying to the US for an operation in Missouri.
“We saw the change straight after the surgery,” said Brecon’s mother Ann.
“He was learning to walk from scratch but his whole posture had changed.”
Now, two years later, Brecon can walk fully unaided largely due to Dan’s selfless gift.
“Hearing that Brecon was finally walking was lovely. It made giving the money away worth it.” Dan said of the news.
Brecon can now walk into school on his own, having abandoned his walking frame in 2014.
His family describe the break through:
“He came home saying ‘I’m sick of people staring’,” Ann said. “I was frantic, thinking he’d fall and hurt himself, but he took those first steps. They were very wobbly but he never used the walker again.”
His dad Rob, 47, says of the moment: “It was emotional. He just pushed away his walking device. I take my hat off to him that he’s as strong willed as he is.”
Ann adds: “At sports day this year he had a different starting point but the fact he ran and crossed the finish line without assistance from anybody was incredible. The cheer was enormous.
“Brecon knows Dan has helped him but is too young to grasp the scale of his gift.
“Dan is amazing. His gesture has allowed him to enjoy life so much more.”