A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy with a rare genetic disease has been given the opportunity to reach his potential thanks to the kindness of a neighbour and a hefty donation by a charity.

William Martin, of Coggeshall Road, Earls Colne, suffers from Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic condition which means he cannot sit, talk, eat or sleep properly.

Unable to walk, William gets around in a wheelchair.

But he has been given a chance to become more mobile thanks to a state-of-the-art Hart Walker, a unique walking aid designed for young people with mobility issues.

Kelly Martin, William’s mum, said: “He will be able to come out for walks with us without relying completely on us to push him in his wheelchair.

“I was sceptical at first as we have tried so many similar things on the NHS and he has never taken to any of them. But I thought what have we got to lose, so we gave it a go.

“Within five minutes he just took to it.

“It is the first time ever in nine years we have seen our son walk towards us, it was the most amazing feeling.”

The idea was suggested by neighbour and friend Heidi Nathan, who started up a fundraising page to pay for the equipment, which costs around £6,000.

Kelly contacted charity Wipe Away Those Tears, which decided to step in and donate the difference.

She said: “I cannot wait for it to arrive, it is going to be amazing for William.

“It will change his life and the rest of the families lives too.

“I have to say a massive thank you to everybody that donated to the Justgiving page and to the charity, and of course to Heidi as well.

“We are so lucky to have her as a neighbour, as this wouldn’t have happened without her.”

The specifically made Hart Walker was ordered on Friday and should arrive in between six and eight weeks, in time for the summer holidays.

Gail O’Shea, trustees of Wipe Away Those Tears, said: “We purchased the equipment on Friday as we were advised that it will give William the ability to walk under his own steam and give him the independence he deserves.

“It will also make life for his family so much easier.”

Wipe Away Those Tears is a charity based in Brentwood which works with children with life limiting or life threatening conditions and their families. Visit www.wipeawaythosetears.org.