Boxing at Evelina London Sports Camp helps Southwark schoolboy Zion to beat disability


A schoolboy has discovered his love of boxing after attending a sports event hosted by a hospital community team.

Zion Sy, 10, from Southwark, was inspired to take up the sport after attending the annual Evelina London Sports Camp, which is run by the Evelina London community physiotherapy team, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Zion, who was born with a serious heart murmur, was diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy when he was three years old, a disease that causes ataxia which affects co-ordination, balance and speech.

Zion said: “I like going to sports camp. This year I really enjoyed the sailing, football and cycling. Boxing is my favourite activity out of all of the events.

Zion with his mother Zoline

“It’s really fun. I like being in the ring and learning new techniques.”

Zion has attended the camp every year since 2015.

Having enjoyed taking part in the boxing event at the camp, he is now a member of Dwaynamics boxing club in Brixton.

Zoline Makosso, Zion’s mother, 44, said: “When Zion was two years old he was still crawling and wasn’t standing or walking.

“I was very concerned so I took him to see the doctor, and after a series of tests he was diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy with ataxia.

“I had a normal pregnancy with Zion but he was born with a serious heart murmur, so his doctors think that it might be connected to that.

“The heart murmur was thankfully picked up by one of the Evelina London health visitors when he was two weeks old after she noticed that he had difficulty feeding.

“I was shocked when I found out that he would need heart surgery, but thankfully the operation was a success and it has made a huge difference to his life.

“Before the surgery he had very little energy and because he was constantly tired he would sleep all the time. Now, he is a very active, happy boy.

Zoline, who also has three other sons, said: “The sports camp has been really great for Zion. He has always been interested in sport, but before he attended we struggled to find suitable activities that he could do. He is able to try lots of different activities at the sport camp, and it was there that he first tried boxing, which he really loves.

“He now attends the Dwaynamics boxing class for juniors every week. It has helped him to improve his balance, strength and overall fitness.

He has also made lots of new friends at the club, which as has helped increase his confidence. Zion always looks forward to going. For him, it’s the highlight of his week. His coach calls him a star pupil.”

The sports camp aims to help patients aged five to 17 who have a disability, and their families, to get involved in sports.

The activities, which include swimming, cycling, boxing and sailing, are all led by a qualified disability sports coach in venues across Lambeth and Southwark.

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