Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has invited a five-year-old amputee to the club’s training ground to meet all the players after the coronavirus lockdown finally ends.
Tony Hudgell, who had both of his legs amputated as a baby after suffering horrific abuse from his birth parents, was a special guest on BBC Breakfast on Monday morning alongside his adoptive parents Paula and Mark.
The brave five-year-old has raised more than £145,000 for the NHS after being inspired by Captain Tom Moore and has vowed to walk every day in June, a total of 10km, to raise money for Evelina London Children’s Hospital – which saved his life when he was only five weeks old.
And following his inspirational story, Tony was given a huge surprise by Chelsea right back Azpilicueta, who sent in a heart-warming message to BBC Breakfast.
‘Hi Tony, it’s Azpi here. Everyone at Chelsea is very proud of you and what you are doing.
‘You are an inspiration to us all. When things return to normality, I would like you to come to the training ground to meet all the players. Take care, I hope to see you very soon.’
Tony – from West Malling, Kent – decided to start fundraising after he was inspired by ex service man Captain Tom Moore, who used his frame to walk laps of his home in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tony had his two legs surgically removed after suffering horrific abuse from his birth parents when he was just 41 days old.
He was rushed to hospital in November 2014 with multiple organ failure, several fractures and even sepsis, leaving him on life support at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. His legs had to be amputated in 2017.
When he was discharged from hospital at four months old, he was put into the foster care of Paula, 52, and Mark, 55, who later adopted him.
Now, after being fitted with his first pair of artificial legs earlier this year, Tony has vowed to walk 10km to raise money and say thank you to the hospital.