Rueben Leslie is a young man with a steely resolve.

The 12-year-old has cerebral palsy, making walking difficult, but that hasn't stopped him climbing Mount Manaia or whizzing around on a trike, learning the guitar or belting out a few drum riffs. He tackles gym sessions with gusto and doesn't let anything stand in his way, which is perhaps the way he approaches life.

A Givealittle page was started for Rueben Leslie and mum Denise Pearson after their car was stolen. Rueben has cerebral palsy and they rely on the car to get themselves around. Photo / John Stone
A Givealittle page was started for Rueben Leslie and mum Denise Pearson after their car was stolen. Rueben has cerebral palsy and they rely on the car to get themselves around. Photo / John Stone

But cruel thieves have dealt the plucky Whangārei youngster a cruel blow.

The car Rueben and his mum Denise Pearson rely on was stolen and then crashed.

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"I was thinking how do I get to school? How do I get to all my disabled sports days?" Rueben asked when he learned of the theft.

As a solo mum Pearson said she is lucky to have the support of her parents who have loaned her a car while she gets some money together to buy another car.

 Rueben Leslie and mum Denise Pearson after their car was stolen. Photo / John Stone
Rueben Leslie and mum Denise Pearson after their car was stolen. Photo / John Stone

"It's a huge disruption to our lives ... these thieves, they have no idea of how this can affect someone. I don't have the money to just walk out and buy another car."

Having a vehicle is crucial to ensure Rueben makes medical appointments, gets to school at Kamo Intermediate and to his sporting commitments.

The drama began about three weeks ago when Pearson took Rueben to the doctors after he got the flu.

Denise noticed the Mazda car that she had owned for nine years, making some weird engine noises but successfully made it to the doctor's appointment.

When they went to leave the car wouldn't start.

After a few tries the engine ticked over and they went to a petrol station in Tikipunga where they struck the same problem.

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"We sat there for a little while but it just wasn't gong to start again ... so the man in the garage helped me push it out onto the road.

"I left it there in disgust," Pearson said.

Her parents came and collect the stranded duo from Paramount Parade and delivered them home.

Then at 3.30am the next morning Pearson answered the phone to police who told her the car was had been stolen, smashed into a power pole and had had the window smashed and the dash pulled out.

The car was towed for forensics but was later sold to the wreckers for $300 as it would have been too costly to repair and Pearson only had third party insurance.

A teacher at Kamo Intermediate Lisa Ferris, decided to help out by creating a Givealittle page to raise $5000 for a second-hand car.

In just nine days 44 generous donors had given $1450.

"I've been amazed and blown away by the support so far," Pearson said.

"I've got my eye on a friend's car that might be good."

Cerebral palsy affects a person's ability to move and is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle co-ordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although it is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs can improve or worsen over time.

When Rueben was born doctors said he would never walk or talk. His determination has seen him prove medical experts wrong.

If you would like to help Rueben and Pearson get some new wheels go to their page on Givealittle https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/denise-and-rueben