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OLYMPIC TORCH: Ben carries the torch through Royal Wootton Bassett
7:20pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 in Catch all the latest on the Olympics 2012 in and around Swindon
FAMILY, friends and the surgeon who saved his life were cheering determined Ben Fox on as he carried the torch through Royal Wootton Bassett High Street.
The 16-year-old, of Westlea, was born with a catalogue of defects in his vital organs and no right leg due to an extremely rare condition called Vater Syndrome.
He carried the torch in one hand and a crutch in the other and stopped several times to swap hands as he made the 300 metre journey from the War Memorial to Lime Kiln.
After finishing his journey, he said: “It was incredible. It was an amazing experience.”
The wheelchair basketball player, who was a Coca Cola Future Flame winner, chose to use a crutch for the journey rather than a wheelchair.
His mum Carol Hearne ran beside him shouting words of encouragement as he completed the route and had tears of pride as she hugged him after he handed the torch over.
“It was incredible. You can’t put it into words. He was getting so tired and I just wanted to be next to him,” she said.
“He insisted on carrying it and using a crutch. He was practicing in the street during the week.
“Ben wants to be at the Olympics in 2016 as a wheelchair basketball player so this is just a taster for him. He is just an amazing lad. If you say to Ben he can’t do something he will do it.
“So many thank yous to Royal Wootton Bassett for making it such a fantastic day.”
Ben, who had photos of his late great-grandparents in his pocket as he carried the torch, was born with a number of defects in his vital organs and limbs.
Consultant surgeon, Rowena Hitchcock, from Oxford Children’s Hospital, who operated on Ben, was also in the crowd with his family.
“I first met him the day he was born. Ben’s condition was very complex, he is an extraordinary boy. When he was born we were struggling to keep him alive,” she said.
“I have found it very emotional coming here today because we have all put a lot of heart into him.”
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