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This Morning: Dad of amputee, five, who scaled Snowdon is so 'proud'

Dec 3, 2021

Proud father of amputee, 5, who’s the youngest person to scale Snowdon tells This Morning it’s proof he’s ‘capable’ of achieving anything he wants in life

  • Albie-Junor, five, from Holywell, Wales, was born with condition fibula hemimelia
  • Left his foot deformed and left leg 5cm shorter than his right so had it amputated
  • Appeared on This Morning with dad Daniel to discuss his latest achievements 

The father of a five-year-old amputee who has become the youngest person to scale Snowdon has spoken of how ‘proud’ he is of his son’s achievement.

Albie-Junior Thomas, from Holywell, Wales, who is celebrating his fifth birthday today, appeared on This Morning alongside his dad and climbing partner, Daniel.  

Daniel explained to presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary that his son was born with a condition known as fibula hemimelia – a rare condition, which is estimated to occur in one in 40,000 births, and is a partial or total absence of the fibula bone in the calf. 

He and Albie’s mother Rachel were given the option of either amputating or extending his leg by pinning. 

‘The condition left his foot deformed and his left leg was 5cm shorter than his right,’ explained Daniel. ‘He’s got the tibia bone but he hasn’t got the fibula bone behind it. There were two options – have his foot amputated or have it pinned.’

Albie-Junior Thomas, from Holywell, Wales, who is celebrating his fifth birthday today, appeared on This Morning alongside his dad and climbing partner Daniel (pictured, together)

Daniel said it was a proud moment when he and son Albie put their hands together at the top of Snowdon (pictured)

He continued: ‘That meant if he had it pinned it’d be about four times at certain times throughout his childhood. It would’ve been this big metal thing around his leg and at the end of it, his foot still could get amputated. 

‘For me, that was a hard decision but it was an easy one out of the two. It was the best one.’

Fibular hemimelia is a partial or total absence of the fibula and is the most common form of lower limb deficiency present at birth.

It is estimated to occur in one in 40,000 births.

There are two long bones in lower leg, the thicker one is called the tibia and the thinner one is the fibula. With fibular hemimelia the tibia is shorter than normal and the fibula is missing or underdeveloped.

A leg affected by fibular hemimelia will look shorter than an unaffected leg. The tibia may be bent and the foot may also be smaller than normal, bent outwards at the ankle and may have fewer than five toes. The knee is often also misshapen and may move abnormally.

Males are 50 per cent more likely to be affected than females, and the former Paralympic Oscar Pistorius had the condition.

Most cases of fibular hemimelia are thought to occur for no reason.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and how normal the foot is.

If the foot is reasonably normal it may be possible to lengthen the leg, and if the foot is twisted outwards to the side it may be possible to correct it sufficiently using surgery.

If the foot is not sufficiently normally formed and the tibia is too short it may be best to amputate it through the ankle.

Prosthetic limbs can be used in almost all cases.

Source: Steps Charity

But Daniel went on to say how the amputation has never once held his little boy back – adding that he’s so proud of Albie for battling the elements and climbing the 3,560ft peak in Wales – despite storm Arwen.

Daniel explained: ‘There were some icy parts but as he was walking up because it dips down, Albie joked, “I thought this was supposed to be a big mountain!” I said, “don’t get too carried away yet!’ 

He went on to say how he felt ‘proud’ when they finally placed their hands together on top of the mounting.

‘I already knew what he was capable of,’ said Albie’s inspirational father. 

Since the age of two, Albie has been running around on a prosthetic limb and even dreams of competing in the Paralympics. 

‘The moment the nurse handed him to me, I said to Albie “I promise you I’m going to get you in the Paralympics,”‘ explained Daniel.

‘So I stopped my small joinery business, signed up to a PT course, fast forward now I’ve gone to uni, I’m doing more sports therapy and getting as much knowledge as I can so it ploughs into him and my clients as well. 

Dermot went on to ask Daniel when the running started. 

‘I was into the weights more, running wasn’t my sport,’ explained Daniel. ‘But I wanted to show him you can achieve anything you want in life.’

‘Running was a bit of a challenge but then I found an ultra running club. 

‘I got with them and they showed me a whole different side to it.’

Alison went on to praise Daniel for being such an ‘inspiring’ dad and when she asked Albie what his dad was like, Daniel whispered: ‘Tell some lies…big me up!’

Albie joked: ‘No!’ 

Discussing how the idea for Snowdon came about, Daniel explained: ‘We walked some mountains up in Wales and walked the hard routes when he was two. He didn’t have his blade then and he managed it and it was easy.’

He continued: ‘Again, when I was walking it I had Snowdon in his head. I’ve even got Everest in my head now! 

‘I’d like to do Ben Nevis this year but it depends on safety this year.’

Daniel went on to say how Albie often says: ‘I want to go running with daddy in the mountains.’

He continued: ‘As long as he wants to do this stuff, I’m there and will push him when he needs to be pushed. He’s capable.’ 

Daniel explained how Albie (pictured together, left and right) often says: ‘I want to go running with daddy in the mountains’

Alison branded Daniel an ‘inspiring’ dad to Albie. Pictured, together on This Morning

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