A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy from Liversedge is preparing to share his online experiences with the Government after trolls sent messages with the intention to cause a seizure.

Zach Eagling, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, will be addressing members of the Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports department after he was targeted online via his mother’s account.

The messages were in response to the young lad's fundraising challenge in his back garden to raise money for the Epilepsy Society.

The charity has been running a campaign to change the law - #ZachsLaw – around online abuse and enter this as a crime under the Government’s Online Harms Bill.

Zach will be joined by his MP Tracy Brabin (Batley & Spen, Labour). Other speakers include Port Vale footballer Leon Legge, who has epilepsy and also targeted by internet trolls, and Clare Pelham, Chief Executive of the Epilepsy Society.

With World Cerebral Palsy Day coming up on October 6, his mum Claire Keer has joined up with their legal team to raise awareness of the condition and how it affects Zach.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Zach is known for his positive attitude and, earlier this year, he started walking independently without the use of his frame.

In June, he successfully completed 130 laps of his garden as part of the 2.6 Challenge, a nationwide fundraising event held this year in place of the London Marathon. 

He finished the laps on his ninth birthday and raised more than £11,500 for the Epilepsy Society, citing Keighley's beloved Captain Tom Moore as his inspiration.

Claire said: “Zach’s cerebral palsy diagnosis was such a shock at first, and I was absolutely devastated to learn that he would face so many difficulties as a result.

“However, he has gone above and beyond what anyone ever expected.  He is such a bubbly and happy boy, and doesn’t let his speech problems stop him from communicating, in particular when we were having issues with the trolls.  Zach was deeply upset by it, but he was determined to rise above it and not let them win.  We are so pleased to be a part of Zach’s Law so we can help put an end to the abuse and stop anyone else from going through this.

“More recently, Zach has made a remarkable return to school.  Recently, he has been using technology packages to assist with his school work, in particular Maths which he is really good at but is hampered by his struggles with writing.  The technology helps him keep up with his classmates.

“World Cerebral Palsy Day is the perfect time to share Zach’s story to raise awareness of the condition and highlight the help out there.”

Zach was born at full term following an uncomplicated pregnancy.  He was pale and floppy and required resuscitation.  However, there were problems intubating Zach and it took around 10 minutes before he was ventilated. He was then transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and ventilated for two days.

Zach was three-years-old when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Now, Zach regularly sees a speech and language therapist and occupational therapist, as well as a physiotherapist to help with his mobility.

Rachelle Mahapatra, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Zach and his family, said: “Zach’s cheery and positive attitude never ceases to amaze me. 

“He inspired so many people with his fund-raising walk during lockdown and the money he raised was incredible.  He returned to school last month and while he has physical difficulties, he is bright and eager to learn.

“With World Cerebral Palsy Day around the corner, Zach and Claire are keen to raise awareness of the help and support available to people affected by the condition, and demonstrate how disability shouldn’t be a barrier to people from achieving their dreams.”