‘The thugs who did this to Thusha haven’t taken her life, I know she’ll
be a success.’ Paralysed marathoner Claire Lomas is an inspiration to
Britain’s youngest gangland victim
23:01 GMT, 16 July 2012
Last March pretty Thusha Kamaleswaran’s dreams of becoming a dancer were shattered when she was caught up in a gang shooting in South London.
The carefree five-year-old was paralysed when a stray bullet hit her in the spine when gun men looking for a rival gang member rampaged through her uncle's shop in Stockwell.
Now home from hospital, and back in school Thusha’s daily physiotherapy sessions and specially designed bike mean the youngster has started to build up her leg muscles and can sometimes wiggle her toes, but her devastated parents have recently had to tell her that she will probably never walk again.
Brave: Claire was paralysed five years ago but completed the London Marathon in April and raised 200,000 for charity
Despite their daughter’s long lasting injuries parents Sassi, 37, and Sharmila,35 from Ilford in Essex are adamant that Thusha doesn’t give up on her dreams and hope that introducing her to extraordinary people like Claire Lomas will help inspire and motivate her.
32-year-old Claire was paralysed five years ago when her spine was dislocated in a horse-riding accident but this year completed the London marathon in 16 days wearing a bionic suit and raising 200,000 for charity in the process.
Split second before: An unsuspecting Thusha is seen dancing through the aisles of her uncle's Stockwell shop last March
Target: The intended victim of the hit and another youth come into the store (left). Thusha and her family can be seen at the front of the picture on the right
The mum-of-one understands the frustrations Thusha will face admitting that she was devastated when she discovered she was paralysed from the chest down after the accident in 2007.
But meeting the youngster for the first
time this month Claire talked to Closer magazine about how she wants to help her realise her dreams and understand that anything really is possible.
The blonde from Melton Mowbray said: ‘I’m amazed by her courage.
'But she needs to realise she can still
fulfil her dreams – I’m proof you can overcome anything.
Having fun at the zoo: Claire's positive attitiude had a huge impact on Thusha and her family
Out now: Thusha and Claire's day out features in Closer magazine's real life special
‘I decided to focus on the good things so I got a specially adapted car, began exercising using a special static bike and standing with a supportive frame.
‘I’ve had some feeling return below my chest and around my hips, so I’m hopeful I’ll keep on improving.
‘The thugs who did this to Thusha haven’t taken her life. ’I know she’ll be a success.’
Meeting Claire and seeing her be so positive and getting on with her life was a huge inspiration for Thusha and her family.
Talking about the day they spent together at London Zoo Thusha told the magazine: ‘Claire’s amazing. She’s shown me dreams can come true.
‘Maybe her bionic suit could help me dance one day.”
The Closer Real Life Special is out today.