A football mad youngster has become a star goalkeeper for his team – despite being born without his left forearm.
Wayde Drew, 12, was born missing a limb after his mum caught swine flu during her pregnancy.
But the determined youngster does not let that get in the way of his passion for football – and has become the star between the sticks with his community team in Leeds.
He’d previously struggled to get match time in his favoured position as kids at his school thought he would be “rubbish”.
But Wayde has shown he can be as good as any other young footballer after his community team gave him the chance to play in his favoured position.
And following his impressive performances, his teammates at Saxton FC are now helping the “amazing” lad to fundraise £13,000 for a new bionic ‘hero’ arm.
His mum Kirsty Norman said: “He’s always been a bit worried about joining a team, because obviously he’s a goalkeeper, and people assume that he’s got to have two hands to be a goalkeeper.
“But at Saxon FC, when he said he’d prefer being in goal, they were just like ‘Yeah, okay’ and they’ve given him that chance.
“It would mean everything to him to have this new arm as he’s at the point where, in his words, he ‘just wants to be the same as everybody else’.”
Wayde was born without part of his lower arm following complications during pregnancy.
Kirsty said Wayde was always keen on football, but he had found it harder to break into teams in his favoured goalie position as he got older.
Kirsty added: “He’s always played football from being little, and he’s got an older brother who loves it.
“But at school when he plays football, the kids want to win, don’t they?
“So they automatically think because he’s only got one arm, he’s going to be a rubbish goalkeeper, so they don’t let him play in goal.”
Two years ago, Wayde turned up for his first practice with community team Saxton FC, and they were more than happy to let him fulfil his dreams of playing in goal.
Kirsty said: “They’ve given him that chance, and he’s shown them that he is really good in goal, so that’s now his position at Saxon FC.”
Saxton FC coach Jonny Nixon said Wayde had excelled as a keeper as soon as he joined the club.
Jonny said: “He just turned up one day with his brother and said, ‘I play in goal’ – and we didn’t make a big deal about his arm, no questions asked – and he started making some saves.
“He was fantastic from day one, saving goals, and he’s always turned up since then and played as a keeper.
“He’s become a really popular kid, and he’s always got a smile on his face.
“He’ll turn up and help you set the nets up, and he’ll be the last to go as he’s helping you put them away.”
Kirsty said Wayde has become more self-conscious about his arm since he started entered secondary school.
But she is sure if he was able to get a bionic ‘Hero Arm’, a prosthetic which allows users to grip tiny objects, it would give the lad a new lease of life.
She said: “Obviously, he just started high school, so he’s really embarrassed by it and he’s been trying to hide his arm.
“To us, Wayde is Wayde – he is normal. But he just wants to fit in and not have to worry about anything.
“When we showed him the arm, he said, ‘That will be better’ because rather than people saying ‘What’s wrong with your arm?’ They’ll say, ‘Oh wow, look at your arm!’.
“He just wants to be the same as everyone else, and now he’s at high school, he’s constantly getting questions and getting embarrassed by it.”
When asked what it would mean to him to get his new prosthetic limb, Wayde said: “It would change my life. It would mean the world to me if anyone could help.”
Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/waydes-hero-arm-fund to donate to Wayde’s fundraising efforts.