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Wheelchair lad Hamzah swims with dolphins
1:00pm Tuesday 5th November 2013 in News
A WHEELCHAIR-bound 10-year-old boy got to swim with dolphins on the holiday of a lifetime.
Hamzah Al Qadi, from Cowley, also got to meet his favourite superheroes, Spiderman, Captain America and Wolverine.
On the 10-day trip to Orlando, Florida, Hamzah, who has cerebral palsy, visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure.
But it was in Discovery Cove that he got a chance to swim with a real-life dolphin.
He said: “I like the dolphins, they flipped me off and I fell into the water. It wasn’t scary, I just smiled and they pulled me out again.”
He said it was the “holiday of a lifetime”, and added: “I want to go back in time and do it all again.”
Hamzah, who goes to St Christopher’s School in Cowley and recvently lead a road safety campaign at this school, was left with cerebral palsy after he contracted a blood infection at birth.
Although it means he is unable to walk, his mum Melissa Willis says it hasn’t affected his mind.
Mrs Willis, 39, said: “He is a happy, intelligent boy and he is very articulate. His vocabulary is even better than average for his age.”
Hamzah lives in Owens Way, Cowley, with his mum, his step dad David Willis and his brother Saleh Al Qadi, also 10.
In his spare time he like playing video games, watching professional wrestling and lifting weights at the gym at Oxsrad sports and leisure centre. Mrs Willis said: “I think he wants to be his favourite wrestler, John Cena.”
Hamzah’s dream holiday was made possible by Dreamflight, a charity whose patron is Sir Cliff Richard. It charters a Boeing 747 ever year to take 200 children on a theme park holiday in Orlando.
They also take 50 doctors, nurses and night nurses on the trip which costs £1m to organise each time.
Hamzah was nominated for the adventure by his physiotherapist at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital and selected by the charity’s doctors on medical grounds.
Charity director Sally Wrampling calls it “the safest trip these children will ever take”.
She said she got a chance to talk to Hamzah in Orlando and called him a “lovely lad”.
She said: “He is very articulate, a lovely lad. He had a great time and a great big smile on his face when he was swimming with the dolphins.”
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