A young boy who lost four limbs to meningitis has shocked his family by taking up – MARTIAL ARTS.
Inspirational Marshall Janson had his legs and hands amputated as a baby and was once described as the sickest child a doctor had ever seen.
But he has refused to let his disability hold him back.
And just months after being filmed playing football with Tottenham Hotspur stars using his prosthetic legs, he has now been excelling at his new-found sporting hobby – Jiu-Jitsu.
The eight-year-old from Perranporth, Cornwall, watched some martial arts with his dad Moss and became hooked – and has now been attending classes with Peter Maher at Mahers Martial Arts Academy for more than a month.
He was given the chance to go backstage at the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) 204 – at the Manchester Arena he met Ultimate Fighting champion Michael Bisping.
While he was there, the youngster was given an opportunity to show off some of his moves in front of 10,000 spectators.
And he is now putting into practice the skills that he saw at the UFC 204 at his Jiu-Jitsu classes.
Marshall who does not use his prosthetic legs during the classes said: “I got to see the two main fighters and it felt awesome.
“I think it’s great and I am going to keep it up. My favourite move is the back spinner.”
Mr Maher, from Mahers Martial Arts Academy, said this was the first time a quadruple amputee had attended the academy – and he was excelling.
He said: “Marshall is a real inspiration. There is nothing he will not try.
“We tend to say in life there are reasons why we can’t do something but you look at young Marshall and it makes you think again.”
Marshall’s dad Moss said: “People say to me ‘oh it must be so hard for you’. It is difficult but we get so much from Marshall.
“He is happy and he is making me proud. I am a very, very proud of him.
Marshall celebrated his first birthday on December 22, 2008 but four days later – on Boxing Day – his mother noticed a rash on his head and rushed him to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Just a tiny baby then, he was declared the “sickest child” a doctor had ever seen.
His vital organs failed twice and doctors had to battle for hours to save him.
He “miraculously” survived but had to have his his hands and legs amputated.
Luckily, Marshall escaped brain damage and did not suffer from sight and hearing impairment – something all too common with meningitis.
He has since lived a happy and healthy life with his family but as he gets older he needs to adapt to new prosthetic legs – and at a price.
All in all, new legs will cost in the region of £800,000 to £1million until Marshall is fully grown.
His parents Moss, 39, and Stephanie, both set up an appeal back in 2009 with a fundraising target of £950,000 in 16 years – and donations have flooded in.
Family friend Colin Trevorrow, who attends the martial arts classes with Marshall, said: “He really is one of life’s fighters and he is the ultimate champion in life. He has fought for everything.
“He still has loads of operations to come but you say to ‘is there anything you can’t do’? And he says ‘no’. You say ‘are you willing to give anything a go?’ And he says ‘yes’. It’s just so commendable.”
The next trip for Marshall will be to Bournemouth where he be attending an event featuring the top 15 world Jiu-Jitsu artists from America.