Xabian’s mammoth finish

Doreen boy, 4, captures spirit of Melbourne Marathon with awe-inspiring end to 3km walk event


Xabian Patterson (front) with dad Grant, sister Lilyana and mum Caddie, who took part in the Melbourne Marathon 3km walk. Picture: GEORGE SALPIGTIDIS

CROSSING the Melbourne Marathon finish line is a mammoth achievement for most, but perhaps none more so than Doreen boy Xabian Patterson.

The lively four-year-old, who has been nicknamed the “Ginger Ninja”, was born with neurological conditions dystonia and global developmental delay.

The conditions produce symptoms similar to cerebral palsy.

Xabian’s mother Caddie said the conditions had robbed her son of having total control of his movements and speech, but not his personality.

“He’s incredibly interactive, he’s a bit of a ladies man too,” she said.

“He’s a pretty happy little boy who goes to daycare every week and is known as the rock star of the room.”

Xabian has attended the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC) since he was 18-months-old.

At the start he had no control over his body. But in the past two years he has learnt to roll, hold a spoon to help feed himself and use a communication book to interact with others.

With the support of CPEC, Xabian and his mother, father and older sister completed the Melbourne Marathon 3km walk on Sunday. Xabian used his stroller to take independent steps across the finish line.

CPEC marketing and communications manager Robyne Somerville said people at the centre were “incredibly excited” by what Xabian had achieved.

Ms Patterson said Xabian had prepared for the event by walking around ovals in Doreen once every couple of weeks.

The family was incredibly proud of Xabian, who had been “very excited” to take the momentous steps, Ms Patterson said.

It’s not known how Xabian’s conditions would progress, but the family “put no limits” on him.

“I hope he can walk, even if it’s with his walker, that he can walk around, go to school and know what it feels like to be independent,” Ms Patterson said.