Amazing story of my record-breaking son Ben Rushgrove
The mother of one of Bath's brightest Paralympic stars has spoken of her pride at seeing him achieve athletic success.
Alison Rushgrove, whose sprinter son Ben is this weekend hoping to better the silver medal he won four years ago at the Beijing games, was at one stage warned by doctors that he may never walk.
The 24-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy before he was one year old, and the condition has left him deaf and with limited mobility.
However, his natural athleticism has shone through and he is now one of Team GB's medal hopes at the Paralympic Games.
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Mrs Rushgrove, who lives with her husband David in Combe Down, said: "He was born premature and he was poorly in the first few weeks of his life.
"We didn't know whether there was any brain damage, they suspected there was, but it was only when he was around seven months old that we realised he wasn't hearing properly, and a month or two after that he wasn't developing physically."
She added: "When somebody is a baby you have no idea what that child is going to develop like.
"They cannot tell you, when they diagnose it (cerebral palsy), what the prognosis is. We were told that he might not be able to walk. So we just did everything in our power to get him to speak, walk and develop."
Ben was always an active child and enjoyed being outdoors, but as a pupil at Freshford Primary School, his differences from the other youngsters became apparent and he was reluctant to take part in sport and PE.
However, this self-consciousness was soon lost when he moved to specialist boarding school Treloar School, in Hampshire, and his running talent was quickly spotted.
From there he was picked up by UK Athletics, and has since gone on to represent his country all over the globe, including breaking the 200m world record in 2007.
Mrs Rushgrove said: "It is the most amazing story, it almost seems impossible.
"We couldn't have wished for a better outcome. When he was little we had no idea whether he would go on to live independently, or hold down a job, we just didn't know. But look at him now.
"I am just so proud of him."
Ben's family, including his younger brother and sister William and Emily, are now excitedly preparing to watch him compete in the London Paralympic Games.
Mrs Rushgrove admitted that she gets nervous before his races, saying: "I want it to all go well for him. It is not that I want him to win, I just want him to feel that he has done the best he can."
For the past year Mrs Rushgrove has been involved with the P&G Nearest & Dearest programme, sharing her experiences with other athletes' mums.
She said: "I have had a brilliant time, you get to share your stories and get to know each other in the build-up to the Games. It just makes us feel closer to what Ben is going through and helps make us a part of it."
Watch Mrs Rushgrove's story at www.youtube.com/pg. The film is part of the P&G Raising an Olympian series, looking at what it is like to raise a world class athlete, through the eyes of their mums.