Amir Uz Zaman, aged nine, who lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy has raised hundreds for charity through his baking. Here's his inspirational story and information on how you can support Muscular Dystrophy UK...
A nine-year-old schoolboy with a muscle-wasting condition has proved he is a star baker in the kitchen – much to the delight of his teachers and friends.
Amir Zaman, from Luton, has impressed school staff at Riverbank Primary School with his determination to succeed. The schoolboy lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition that causes his muscles to weaken and waste over time. It means that, while in the classroom, Amir spends most of his time in a specially-adapted school chair.
Amir’s one-to-one teacher Chelsea Burgess has been astonished at how the once-shy boy has taken to cooking - baking hundreds of cupcakes, cookies and cornflake tarts to fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy UK, because he wants to help other children like himself.
“Although every day is a challenge for Amir, he amazes us with the hard work he puts into everything he does. After lockdown his mobility decreased but this doesn’t stop him, every day he gets out of his chair. He gives himself daily targets on how many times he will walk down the corridor. He never gives up.”
Amir was diagnosed with his condition when he was two. Born prematurely at 29 weeks, his family first considered his slow development - he didn’t walk before he was two – as the result of his early arrival. Finally, a doctor spotted symptoms and referred the family to Great Ormond Street, where the diagnosis was made.
Amir’s love for cooking originally started as an activity to boost his confidence in school and has now set himself the target of raising £700 for MDUK. His JustGiving page can be accessed here.
Amir’s mum Ayesha is immensely proud of her son. She said:
“I am a good Indian cook but Amir wanted to know why I didn’t do more baking and suggested I go to baking classes. Now, he has taken it into his own hands and is cooking every day. First, the cakes were for the teachers, but he’s started baking for charity. We are very proud of him.”
Ayesha, also mum to four-year-old Aleena and two-year-old Aneesa, is full of praise for the way the school supports her family.
“During lockdown a teacher called to see us every week. However, the isolation from the routine and classmates was very hard.”
She said Amir’s social skills, reading, hand-writing and maths have improved dramatically since the first lockdown measures were eased and Amir was told he could return to school.
“We’ve continued to send Amir to school in the second lockdown, because after discussing his vulnerability to the virus with a doctor. He really loves his school and we are so pleased to see how well he is doing.”
Louise Moffat, London’s Regional Development Manager for Muscular Dystrophy UK
“It is lovely to hear of such a fantastic little fundraiser and I want to congratulate Amir on achieving so much. It is truly inspiring for our community to read of his achievements.”
Well done to Amir!