Castle Bytham boy, 8, walks one million steps to raise money for Dogs for Autism
An eight-year-old boy with autism has walked one million steps to raise money for charity.
Thomas Dutton, from Castle Bytham, is raising money for Dogs for Autism to “promote acceptance and understanding of autism”, said Ruth Dutton, Thomas’s mum.
Thomas has a two-year-old Labrador named Jaspar who is a “great support for Thomas”, added Ruth.
The idea first came about when Thomas and his brother Samuel gave their dad, Matt Dutton, a poster of ‘100 things to do with dad’, and one of them was to raise money for charity.
So, Thomas decided to raise money with his dad.
Ruth said: “Thomas wanted to raise funds for a charity that would promote acceptance and understanding of autism and PDA (pathological demand avoidance), and because of his love for Jaspar he chose Dogs for Autism.
“He wanted other people to have the same positive experience that he has with Jaspar.”
Although Thomas has beat his challenge, he is determined to raise even more money.
His original target was £1,000, however this is now at £1,114.
Thomas was diagnosed with autism in February of this year.
His mum describes him as a “very determined young man” who is “not afraid to step out of his comfort zone”.
She added: “We are very proud of Thomas.
“We always knew that he would see the challenge through to the end, but we are delighted for him that he has as it means a lot to him.”
Thomas also has a “special bond” with Jaspar.
The pair love to play in the garden together, and during Thomas’s challenge, Jaspar joined him on a lot of walks.
Ruth added: “Jaspar is a normal, lovable family dog.
“However, because of Thomas' diagnosis, he can be very anxious and needs to retreat to a quiet place at times.
“Jaspar is very sensitive to Thomas' moods and will keep him company in these moments.
“Jaspar recognises when Thomas' anxiety levels are going up, sometimes even before we can and thus aids Thomas to regulate his emotions.”
To donate to Thomas’s challenge, go to https://www.justgiving.com/page/thomas-dutton-1687528068223.
The charity has also just made Thomas one of their '100 Heroes' for raising over £1,000.
He received a certificate and medal which he is “immensely proud” of.