A BOY allergic to the cold is celebrating after defying the odds to make a splash.
Despite being unable to go outside in case he goes into anaphylactic shock, Aidan Smith, eight, has passed his first big swimming test.
The Westcliff Primary School pupil of Rossington Avenue, Bispham, suffers from cold urticaria, a condition only six people in the country are known to have.
He is rarely seen without a balaclava, scarf and gloves – even in the summer. But since The Gazette appealed for help to find him a swimming pool, Aidan has never looked back.
Aidan’s mum, Melissa Smith, 32, has taken her son to swimming lessons at The Cliffs Hotel, North Shore, for the last six months.
And last week he was awarded his five metre badge.
Melissa said: “It’s fantastic because it gives Aidan some sort of normality.
“He loves going. He gets so much pleasure from it and when he is happy, I’m happy.
“It’s like I’m dreaming when I’m taking him swimming because I didn’t think this would happen, but now my mind is at rest.
“If something does happen to him when he is older (in water) he can now get to the side before he goes into shock.”
Doctors have been left scratching their heads over how best to treat Aidan.
Some said he would outgrow the condition, which causes him to break out in spots if he comes into contact with conditions below his body temperature.
Miss Smith added: “I can see a light at the end of the tunnel with his swimming, but not with his condition.
“As soon as he gets out of bed his hands and face are covered and I have to have the heating on constantly.
“We haven’t got a clue when it will stop, but we are definitely not going to give the lessons up.”
Damian Ashworth, leisure centre manager at The Cliffs Hotel, organised for Aidan to start swimming in the heated pool and says it has been great to see him develop.
He told The Gazette: “Aidan is doing really well and has come on a lot. To see him develop like that in a relatively short space of time has been really good.”