WHEN five-year-old Jude Eldred came in to this world, doctors told his mother he was “incompatible with life”.
The Newbury youngster was born with a unique genetic disorder, leaving him severely disabled and suffering from a range of medical issues, including a life-threatening heart defect.
The medical experts had little hope he would survive his first few days.
However, after proving the experts wrong five years ago, determined Jude, who is unable to talk and requires a wheelchair, has now defied doctors again by actually taking his first few unaided steps (watch a video of Jude below).
His amazed mother, Sammy Eldred, 31, described it as a “miracle” as she watched the emotional moment at their home in Kiln Road, having been told her only son would never be able to walk.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“He was playing with my niece and her friend and all of a sudden they started shouting that he was walking.
“It was just out of the blue.
“I didn’t know what to do – I cried.
“When I went out into town I was just telling everybody – even complete strangers.
“It’s a miracle that he’s even here and it’s a miracle that he’s now walking.”
Jude is thought to be the only person in the world to suffer from a partial duplication of chromosome 13.
The disorder means he is unable to communicate, talk or even eat.
He was born with extra fingers and toes and has a third kidney.
As a newborn, Jude was transferred to a specialist cardiac unit at Southampton General Hospital, where he spent the first six months of his life undergoing numerous operations.
Having witnessed Jude overcome obstacle after obstacle over the course of the last five years, Ms Eldred believes his unwavering positivity has been the key.
“He goes through so much but he never stops smiling,” she said.
“He’s just happy, he loves life – he just wants to be here.”
Ms Eldred, who spends her spare time volunteering with Reading-based charity Parenting Special Children, is now hoping these steps will be the first of many.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds since stepping up to Castle School, they work so hard with him.
“I’m really hoping he will progress from this now.
“I just feel like this is the perfect Christmas present, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.”
Ms Eldred now hopes Jude’s story will help give hope to other parents who find themselves in a similar situation.
She said: “At the start, the doctors told me he was incompatible with life.
“I just thought any minute now he’s going to die.
“Because he’s the only one in the world with this they don’t know what will happen with him in the future.
“There’s nothing that they can see will shorten his life but they just don’t know.
“I don’t think like that anymore though.
“It’s all been a bit of rollercoaster but I’m just enjoying what he can do now instead of what he can’t.
“He might never walk like you and me but I was told he would never walk.”
She added: “I’ve never given up hope.
“There have been dark days but I’ve always in the back of my mind had hope.”