Life Video

By Lucy Notarantonio


A mum addicted to vending machine snacks has shed four stone after vowing to ‘be the legs’ for her disabled son.

Joanne Grimshaw, 35, was unable to climb the stairs without breaking a sweat but when medics said her son Ellis, two, is unlikely to ever walk – she decided to ditch her unhealthy habits.

The tiny tot was born with an undeveloped brain – with the corpus collosum, which connects the right and left parts of the brain together so signals can be transmitted, was ‘practically missing’.

The mum-of-two began piling on the pounds and ballooned to 15 stone after claiming she ‘lived off’ vending machine snacks whilst Ellis fought for his life after contracting sepsis three times.

After countless hospital appointments and an unknown diagnosis, Joanne from Wigan, Manchester, has stopped snacking on crisps and chocolate to improve her health so Ellis ‘never misses out’.

It is thought Ellis’s genetic condition is so rare that he is possibly the only person in the world and that it will be named after him.

Joanne, a single mum, said: “Ellis was a poorly newborn, but I was dismissed by doctors who assumed I was exaggerating but I knew something wasn’t right.

“I was probably going to the doctors or A&E twice a week as he didn’t sleep for longer than an hour and wasn’t feeding.

“A week before his 1st birthday in March 2018, they did a brain scan and discovered I was right; something was seriously wrong.

“They discovered part of his brain was practically missing, which is needed for physical coordination, doctors have said he is unlikely to ever walk or talk.

“The news broke my heart but pushed me to do something about my weight to ensure I am fitter than ever so Ellis doesn’t miss out and can be the legs he needed to enjoy his life.

“His immune system is so weak; a cold isn’t just a cold and he has spent a lot of his life in hospital.

“I would eat chocolate and crisps from the vending machine and grab a McDonald’s or an Indian on the way home.

“I put on weight and began to lose my breath from just walking up the stairs.”

Joanne, who is a secretary, joined The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan in March this year and hasn’t looked back since.

The mum-of-two, adds: “I thought if Ellis can’t do it then I will do it for him.

“I was so unfit and overweight but determined to do my best to make sure he never misses out.

“A friend suggested the joined The 1:1 diet and it has changed my life.

“I swapped the sugary cereals for a shake or smoothie and totally cut out fast food.

“I am now able to walk anywhere holding Ellis, push him on the swings and even go on small fair rides – something I was ashamed to attempt when I was at my heaviest.

“Doctors are shocked as they have never had a case like Ellis’s before but I hope they can do something in the future.

“But for now, I will continue to be the legs for my little boy.”