With such an infectious and beautiful smile, it’s hard to believe three-year-old Aash-Jai Evans has anything to be sad about.
But this brave little boy from Shocklach faces more challenges every day than many would face in a lifetime.
Since being diagnosed with diplegic cerebral palsy affecting the lower half of his body, at the age of 15 months, Aash is unable to sit or stand unaided, is constantly in pain and has to take 24-hour medication.
He needs to use a frame to stand up, which he can only tolerate for short periods of time, and a walker to walk which, due to high muscle tone, can only be done on tip-toes.
Although there is no cure for Aash’s condition, one reason he is able to keep smiling is the continued intensive therapy and physio he receives from the North West-based charity Stick n Step.
They provide free specialist conductive education and support services to children with cerebral palsy and their families, giving Aash the chance to re-train his brain and learn everyday activities.
His mum Shaileena said the charity does wonders for her little boy.
“Aash is so happy with the most gorgeous smile,” she said.
“Without the care he receives from Stick n Step, Aash wouldn’t be the little boy he is today and they are preparing him for the next stage of his journey, which is another huge step – a Selective Dorsal Rhizoromy operation which at the moment he is too young for.
“This will mainly relieve him of pain and the spasticity, but until then he has to keep getting the intensive therapy.
“Stick n Step is one amazing charity who rely solely on donations and fundraisers.
“The children are brilliant, the staff are so caring and inspirational – 100% is given to each and every one of those children that come through the door. Aash loves going there.”
It’s because of this that Shaileena has joined forces with her friend Billie Jean Holden, to organise a special Casino Royale themed black tie ball at Sandhole Farm, Tushingham in September.
The evening will consist of a cocktail and canape reception, dinner, with entertainment including casino tables where guests pay for chips to gamble with.
Live music and a silent auction will also be on the bill, featuring prizes donated by local charities including Mococo, the ChesterMercure Hotel in Chester, Utilitywise PLC and Tattenhall-based Advantage Motorsport.
Billie Jean said: “I wanted to help give Stick n Step something back as Aash loves attending and gets invaluable help from them.
“He has the biggest smile on his face when he goes to Stick n Step.
“Their work is vital and they rely solely on charitable donations.
“We hope the evening will raise a substantial amount of money for Stick n Step but to do this we really need help with sponsorship to cover certain costs for the evening. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”
For more information about the charity ball or to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit the Facebook page Casino Royale Charity Ball for Stick n Step.