Northern Ireland news

Belfast teenager who underwent life-changing medical treatment overjoyed by surprise visit from Carl Frampton

Pearse Campbell (18) was stunned when boxer Carl Frampton dropped by to see him yesterday. The teenager returned from London last week where he had a specialist back brace fitted, which was partly funded by the boxer. Also pictured are neighbour Jeanne Kelly and his mother, Aisling. Picture by Declan Roughan

A SEVERELY disabled Belfast teenager received a surprise visit from his hero Carl Frampton after the boxer helped fund a specialist brace that changed his life.

Pearse Campbell (18), who lives in the New Lodge area, developed an aggressive form of scoliosis last year and had become reliant on oxygen to breathe.

He returned from a London hospital last week after having the back brace fitted - that resulted in him sitting up upright and breathing unaided "within days".

Neighbour Jeanne Kelly organised a fundraiser and contacted the Mr Frampton's wife, Christine, earlier this month. To date, they have raised almost £20,000.

The former double world champion dropped by to see the non-verbal teenager yesterday and gave him a boxing glove "which he hasn't let go of".

"Pearse might not be able to speak but he communicates with his eyes - and the look when he saw Carl Frampton was just priceless. He could not stop smiling," Ms Kelly said.

"I have known Pearse's mum Aisling for years and I have two autistic kids myself. It's just nice to give something back."

The Glenveagh school pupil also suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. In the past year, he has developed a 74 degree curvature on his spine.

Ms Campbell said the boxer's visit had made her son's day and thanked the couple for their support.

"Pearse was actually sitting watching Carl's fights this morning on Youtube, he loves boxing so much and Liverpool," she told Belfast Live.

"We got back from London with the brace for Pearse and we are already beginning to notice big changes. When he has it on he is breathing better and doesn't need his oxygen as much and it is great to see him doing better.

"I just want to thank everyone who has supported us and helped us get the treatment that Pearse needs, it means so much and made me even more determined to never stop fighting for him."

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