By Laura Lynott @Ly211
A boy “embarrassed” about his new prosthetic legs – is set to achieve his dream when he strides out with his heroes Spurs FC – after a Facebook photo of him playing footie in his Spurs kit went viral.
Marshall Janson, 8, from Perranporth, Cornwall, who had his hands and legs amputated as a baby after suffering meningitis – normally wears running blades to dash round the football pitch at school as a goalkeeper.
But recently his mother Stephanie Janson gave the football mad youngster a new pair of prosthetic legs to wear – to enable him to walk, bend his knees and “sit a little more.”
Marshall, a huge Spurs fan, was far from happy with his new artificial limbs and “was afraid the other children would laugh at him,” Stephanie said.
In a bid to help put a smile on Marshall’s face once again – a neighbour took to Facebook to share a photo of the schoolboy writing: “Let’s see how many likes we can get for Marshall…as he feels embarrassed and thinks that people will laugh at him…and if any footballers are looking, give him a game.”
The post was shared 16,000 times and now Marshall has been invited to play a game with his Spurs heroes on May 12 at White Hart Lane.
Watch Marshall have a kick-about at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday here: https://www.facebook.com/mark.polmear/videos/10153625447338947/
Stephanie, 36, said: “Marshall was afraid people would laugh at him. The Facebook post went crazy. It was shared 16,000 times.
“Marshall is football crazy and he loves Spurs. They saw the post and rang me up to invite him to play with the team.
“It’s been brilliant for him. It’s given him a lot of confidence. He didn’t like his new prosthetic legs because he has been so used to wearing blades for years and he runs around the football pitch in school in them.
“But this has really helped Marshall like his new legs. He has always felt just like every other boy and we didn’t want that to change so thanks to everyone who shared this post and helped Marshall meet Spurs.
“He has never been to their grounds and he’s very excited.”
Watch Marshall as a mascot for Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday here: https://www.facebook.com/mark.polmear/videos/10153625429448947/
The schoolboy, who had his hands and both legs amputated just days after he turned one, has, his mother, said “never stopped smiling.”
Even after the amputations – a “horrific” memory for the mother to relive – Stephanie said the-then baby Marshall, still smiled when he woke up.
Just after Christmas in 2008, the mother found a “small bruise” type rash on her son’s forehead and then within hours he was “floppy”.
She and husband Moss Janson, took Marshall to hospital, where they were told he was suffering Meningitis. Within days doctors amputated the child’s hands and legs.
He had been on life-support and the family feared Marshall would be brain-damaged but it was only physical injury he suffered.
“We said we can fix limbs but we can’t fix if anything happened to our son’s brain,” Stephanie, who is currently pregnant with twins, said.
“So I guess that’s the attitude we have always had.”
The family set up the www.Handstand.org.uk appeal where people can donate money towards Marshall’s prosthetic legs in future.
Annually he needs a new pair – and they cost up to £12,000. He will need regular changes each year until he stops growing at around the age of 18.
“Marshall always wore running blades and he is confident in them. He got the new ones with Tottenham’s logo on but still he wasn’t very confident in them,” Stephanie said.
The new prosthetics have feet and knees attached – and are very different to what the schoolboy is accustomed to.
“He was worried that everyone would laugh if he fell over,” Stephanie said. “He’s always been so confident so then for him to say ‘I’m not wearing them,’ was like no, we can’t have this.”
“He lives to pay football. But from a physio point of view it will be nice for him to be able to walk and bend his legs. The blades can get stuck under his desk at school and he is running from his hips in the blades.
“Nothing phases Marshall. He always has a smile on his face. He has been through so much and he will have to have operations for the rest of his life – but he is the most easy going kid – and he must make people feel they should never feel sorry for themselves.
“I’m so proud of my son. And I’m so grateful for the generosity of Spurs and the public for helping his dream come true.”
On Saturday Marshall was invited to become Wycombe Wanderers FC’s Mascot. A video posted on Facebook shows him playing kick-about before the match.
“He had never been on to a pitch, or carried a match ball out,” Stephanie said. “His little face lit up – we were so proud.
“The players were amazing. Even now he tells me ‘Mum, I can do it,’ whatever challenge he faces.
“People don’t realise how much he can do. He wants to be a goalie for Spurs when he grows up and he tells me he wants to be in the Olympics.
“And thanks to the athletes in the Paralympics, who have inspired Marshall, and educated society, to realise just how much people with disabilities can do – anything is possible for my son.”
If you would like to make a donation towards Marshall’s next pair of prosthetic legs, contributions can be made to The Appeal for Marshall Janson, PO Box 39, Perranporth, Cornwall, TR6 0WP, or to any branch of Lloyds TSB to account number: 01782765. Sort code: 30 97 00.