A boy who lost all his limbs to meningitis and was too embarrassed to play football has played his first match after a personal training session – with Harry Kane,
Soccer nut Marshall Janson, eight, was once described by a doctor as the sickest child he had ever seen when he caught the devastating disease just days after being born.
But after his miraculous survival the brave youngster had been too ashamed to play the game he loved through a fear that other kids would ridicule his efforts.
A new pair of prosthetic legs that he had fitted recently saw his confidence rocket and after a video of him showing off his skills in a Tottenham shirt went viral, he was offered the chance to have a kick around with his heroes.
And he has now taken his tips from the likes of England’s Harry Kane and Dele Ali to a new level by taking part in his first ever full football match.
He played in three 20 minute games each featuring Marshall and his friends and the local team at St Dennis – and was “ecstatic” to be part of the winning team.
His proud mother Stephanie Janson, 37, of Perranporth, Cornwall, said his tournament experience all stemmed from his experience with the Spurs stars.
He was not only invited to the training session but also led the team out during a Premiership match last season at White Hart Lane.
Stephanie says since then his confidence has sky-rocketed.
She added: “It completely boosted his confidence. He has been wearing his new legs every day and the experience with Tottenham really helped boost his self-esteem and confidence 100 per cent.
“That is exactly what we wanted – which was lovely.
“He is a lot happier now. People have been so overwhelming. They wanted him to feel like he was having his own game.
“They made him feel extremely special and never been able to play a match before.
Marshall was part of the winning team with the final score 5-3 in his favour.
Stephanie added: “He was ecstatic that they won.
“He absolutely loved it and was excited from the minute he got up – and did not stop playing football on the day.
“It was the first match he has ever been involved in. It all came from his experience with Tottenham and was something he would never have been able to do before.
“The Tottenham game made him feel really included – which is all he has ever wanted. He just wants to feel as normal as possible.
“He didn’t score, which he would loved to have done, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself anyway.”
Marshall was born on December 22, 2008. Four days after his birth – on Boxing Day – his mother noticed a rash on his head and rushed him to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Just a tiny baby then, he was declared the “sickest child” a doctor had ever seen.
His vital organs failed twice and doctors had to battle for hours to save him.
He “miraculously” survived but had to have his his hands and legs amputated.
Luckily, Marshall escaped brain damage and did not suffer from sight and hearing impairment – something all too common with meningitis.
He has since lived a happy and healthy life with his family but as he gets older he needs to adapt to new prosthetic legs – and at a price.
All in all, new legs will cost in the region of £800,000 to £1million until Marshall is fully grown.
His parents Moss, 39, and Stephanie, both set up an appeal back in 2009 with a fundraising target of £950,000 in 16 years – and donations have flooded in.