Frank Mills, 6, was inspired by 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore after he walked 100 laps with a walker

By Eric Todisco
April 21, 2020 11:56 AM
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Frank Mills
Credit: JustGiving

Frank Mills, a 6-year-old boy from Bristol, England with spina bifida, is raising money for healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic by achieving an incredible feat of his own.

Frank only began walking 18 months ago, and still struggles to complete even short distances due to his condition, his mother Janet told BBC News.

Spina bifida causes a gap in the spine after a baby’s spine and spinal cord do not develop properly in the womb, according to the NHS.

After Frank witnessed 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore walk 100 laps with a walker at his Bedfordshire home, the young boy became inspired to walk with his own walker while also raising money for NHS Charities Together.

“When Frank saw Captain Tom on TV, he said, ‘I want to do that,’ ” Janet said. “So we took his walker outside and chalked up [about 33 feet] on the pavement.”

“He was very enthusiastic and shouted at one of the neighbors to sponsor him,” she added.

The family then decided to set up a JustGiving account to raise the funds.

Though his initial goal was £99 (the equivalent of about $121) — the age of Tom Moore — Frank has far surpassed that objective. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fundraiser has amassed over £89,935, the equivalent of more than $110,000.

“We cannot believe how people are responding,” Janet told the BBC.

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Frank was born prematurely at 25 weeks, according to the BBC, and spent five weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southmead Hospital.

In the years since, he’s gotten “absolutely amazing care and dedication” from both Southmead and the Bristol Children’s Hospital, making Frank all the more inspired to support the staff, Janet told the outlet.

“People have been so generous, especially at a time when people are struggling financially,” his father Tony told the BBC. “It restores your faith in humanity.”

On Friday, the Mills family wrote on the JustGiving page, “WOWZERS!!! Thank you everyone so much. Frank says he’s going to try and do this everyday now!”

Donations to Frank’s fundraiser for NHS Charities Together can be made here.

As of Wednesday, there have been 124,743 cases and 16,509 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United Kingdom, according to The New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.