“Want to Do Everest,” 9-Year-Old Tony Hudgell Turned His Tragedy Into a $2.2 Million Charity Crusade

2 months ago

Tony Hudgell went through tough times as a baby. His biological parents mistreated him as an infant, leading to the amputation of both his legs. But Tony did something amazing — he raised about $2.2 million for charity. Even though it was hard, he achieved this by walking and climbing mountains with his crutches. A nine-year-old charity founder became the youngest-ever recipient of the British Empire Medal for services to the prevention of mistreating children.

His earlier childhood was filled with difficult experiences.

Tony’s life began amidst a multitude of challenges—fractures, dislocations, organ failures, trauma, shock, and the loss of two limbs. Anthony Smith and Jody Simpson, his biological parents, were jailed for a decade due to their mistreatment of their son. However, even with the court’s decision, the scars on Tony’s soul persisted. Determined to make something positive out of his adversity, Tony resolved to assist other children facing similar hardships.

In 2016, Paula and Mark adopted Tony, providing him with unwavering support. Together, they established the Tony Hudgell Foundation, dedicated to aiding Tony in achieving his aspirations. Over the past three years, Tony has tirelessly raised funds for the hospital that saved his life. Despite the challenges posed by his prosthetic limbs and dependence on crutches, he completed a sponsored 10 km walk and scaled 238 meters in the Lake District.

Tony held a strong determination to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Inspired by Captain Tom, who walked 10 km to support Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where he was saved at just 41 days old, Tony embarked on his own journey. Initially aiming to raise around $563, Tony exceeded expectations by raising $2.2 million through a sponsored walk within a few months.

But Tony’s determination didn’t end there. Setting new physical challenges for himself, Tony conquered Orrest Head on the shores of Lake Windermere, with mountaineer Hari Budha Magar.

Paula Hudgell, Tony’s adoptive mother, expressed how deeply emotional it was when Tony received a surprise visit from Mr. Budha Magar, who made history as the first double above-the-knee amputee to summit Everest. “Hari is a superhero, the same as Tony,” she remarked. “And it just shows that, being differently abled, what you can achieve. You can achieve anything if you just put your mind to it.”

Paula also described the experience of witnessing her son reach the summit as “absolutely incredible.” She remarked, “Anybody who knows Tony knows that he is a complete whirlwind. He’s a force to be reckoned with.”

Tony expressed his admiration for Hari, stating, “I want to do Everest because we know someone who has done it, Hari. He made me want to do it.” Tony also revealed plans to climb Scafell Peak, England’s highest and most prominent peak, opting for the harder route down.

He is the youngest person to receive a British Empire Medal.

Tony’s journey serves as an inspiration to overcome challenges by setting courageous goals. At just 9 years old, Tony’s advocacy for tougher sentences for child maltreatment led to him being awarded the British Empire Medal by the King of Britain. Despite his excitement about receiving the prestigious award at Buckingham Palace, Tony remains committed to working even harder for societal betterment.

Paula said, “It’s nice, as he does not want any other child to suffer like he did. I am very proud of him, and it’s a wonderful legacy for him.” She also mentioned that Tony was proud and very excited when he found out about the award.

In 2020, Tony received a Pride of Britain award, further cementing his status as a beacon of inspiration. His determination to heal, help, inspire, and even conquer Everest against all odds serves as a powerful reminder that courage and tenacity can overcome any obstacle.

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