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Charity boxing dinner supports children like Rio, an excellent athlete nicknamed “baby bladerunner”

PUBLISHED: 11:33 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:53 13 April 2017

Rio Woolf has impressed athletes and royalty alike. Photo from Paskin Children's Trust

Rio Woolf has impressed athletes and royalty alike. Photo from Paskin Children's Trust

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The Annual Boxing Dinner, sponsored by the Ham&High Property, raises money for charities Norwood and the Paskin Children’s Trust, supporting children and adults with disabilities.

Adem, who has autism, has started making more choices. Photo: NorwoodAdem, who has autism, has started making more choices. Photo: Norwood

Rio Woolf, now eight, was born with tibial aplasia, a very rare bone deficiency which resulted in his right leg being amputated through the knee, but this has not arrested his talent for football or running.

He recently impressed at the first England Amputee Football Association’s junior camp, and attended the Invictus Games last year, after being invited personally by Prince Harry.

Paskin Children’s Trust set up the fundraising campaign “Run Rio Run”, raising thousands of pounds for Rio to have lightweight blades throughout his childhood, as only heavier prosthetic legs are available on the NHS.

The funds raised at the Boxing Dinner, which is headlined by comedian Bobby Davro, will also help people with disabilities such as Adem, 28, who is supported by Norwood.

Adem, who has autism, lives in Ravenswood, run by Norwood, which is home to 130 people with learning disabilities.

When he was two years old, Adem was diagnosed with autism and his parents were told by specialists that he’d never develop, never speak and never be able to support himself.

Adem’s dad, Edy, remembers: “As Adem got older, he got stronger. He’d scratch us with his nails or grab us by the throat. Without warning, he’d just grab our hair and pull it.

“He’d throw hot tea all over the place. He’d roam around at night. He just wouldn’t sleep.

“By about the age of 10 or 11 he was getting more uncontrollable.”

At the age of 11, Adem moved to Ravenswood, where he could get the specialist support he needs and staff set up a programme especially for Adem.

With the help of his iPad, Adem has started making more choices and verbalising what he wants – from programmes and films (usually Harry Potter) he’d like to see, to choosing which pasta sauce he’d like to eat.

The proceeds from the Charity Boxing Dinner will be split between Norwood and the Paskin Children’s Trust. The event, which historically raises hundreds of thousands of pounds, will take place at the Lancaster Hotel in Paddington on May 10.

– There are still a few ringside tables and individual tickets available. An individual ticket costs £200, a table of 10, £2,000 and a ringside table of 10 for £2,600. For more information visit: boxingdinner.com or contact Emma Forman at emma.forman@norwood.org.uk.

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