Tiny boy, big heart!

Just two, but already Frankie's making a difference...

Published by: Laura Hinton and Rebecca Rampling
Published on: 8 December 2011

They made funny-looking pals really - my son Frankie and my mate Louise's son Ryan. My lad barely came up to Ryan's chest as they stood side by side making as high a tower of toy bricks as possible.
You'd have thought Frankie was at least a year younger but, in fact, they were both two.
Nobody really knew quite why my son was so tiny. When he was born 15 days late, he'd weighed a healthy 8lb 10oz, but had refused to drink milk. It meant he'd had difficulty putting on weight. The doctors assured me he'd soon grow bigger than his current 28 inches but, for now, he was just a little smaller than most.
He still wore clothes for babies aged six to nine months - but I often bought nine to 12 months, to feel better!
‘You've got nothing to worry about with Frankie, though,' smiled Louise, 30. ‘He sticks up for himself.'
‘Oh, I nearly forgot to ask,' Louise continued. ‘How do you and Frankie fancy joining us on a sponsored walk around Dudley Zoo next week?'
‘We haven't been to the zoo for ages,' I replied. ‘Frankie loves the monkeys.'
‘We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo!' he squealed, picking up my words.
‘It's in aid of Barnardo's too, so the money raised would go towards helping the poorly kids,' she explained.
‘You'd like to help the poorly kids, wouldn't you honey?' I asked.
‘Help the poorly kids!' he repeated, already giddy with excitement. Bless him. He was so tiny, he'd never manage the half-mile walk, I'd best take him in the buggy. Still, it'd be a fun day.
Over the next couple of days, we rushed around fundraising with our sponsorship form.
One day, I was pushing him through town in his pram when a lady stopped us in the street.
‘What a beautiful baby,' she smiled.
‘Poorly kids,' Frankie twittered, waving our sponsorship form at her.
‘Wow, your baby can talk already?!' she gasped, mouth open.
‘Well, he is two.'
‘No way!' she gasped. ‘I thought he was only a couple of months old!'
To be honest, I was used to people reacting like that. Frankie was so teeny-weeny that everyone assumed he was loads younger than he really was.
Before I knew it, we'd raised £180.90 in sponsorship, and the morning of the walk was upon us.
Queuing up at the start line beside Louise and Ryan, Frankie was so excited. He sat strapped up in his pushchair, looking around in amazement. ‘Lions,' he said, pointing at them.
‘That's right,' I said. ‘There's lots of animals here at the zoo... and lots of people too, to help the sick kiddies.'
There were, too. It seemed like hundreds of children were taking part in the walk. What a shame Frankie wouldn't be able to walk like them. But they were all so much taller.
‘1, 2, 3, and go!' the organiser announced over the loudspeaker.
First, we saw the lions up close, then the tigers, and next the monkeys... Frankie started scratching his armpits and giving me his best impression.
But after we'd passed them, he tugged at his straps. ‘Want to walk, Mummy,' he insisted.
‘You won't keep up,' I smiled.
‘The poorly children,' he said, grinning. Well, he'd be tired in two minutes flat, but it wouldn't hurt to let him have a toddle.
As soon as I loosened the straps, Frankie was off! He tottered away on his little legs - then started passing all the bigger kids!
He insisted he had to keep going for the sick kids. Seemed like he understood how important it was to raise money. On and on he went, whizzing past children twice his size.
Before I knew it, I was watching Frankie cross the line. He'd run virtually the entire half-mile walk!
Collecting his sticker and medal, he smiled for the camera. I was proud as punch - my tot was officially the tiniest fundraiser!
Four months on, Frankie is still so proud. Sometimes, he even sleeps with his medal.
‘It's for the poorly children, Mummy,' he reminds me. He's already talking about taking part in the walk next year, and I joke that he'll be going from fundraiser to events organiser within months!
My lad might be little, but he has the biggest heart.
Carly Clayton, 30, Birmingham