A LITTLE boy with cerebral palsy, which means he is still unable to walk at the age of three, is looking ahead to a more independent future thanks to pioneering surgery in America.
But Ollie Saxton’s family still have a long road ahead of them – since the total cost of the treatment, travel, and follow-up care comes to £50,000. Now they are on a mission to raise the funds needed for the life-changing operation at the St Louis Children’s Hospital.
Mum Rachel, from Intake, Sheffield, said: “At the moment he has just not got the mobility and it often means he ends up feeling like a baby when he is at nursery because he is crawling around rather than running around with the other kids.
“For him to be able to get up by himself and move around on his own would be such a boost for him.”
Ollie was 18 months old before he was officially diagnosed with spastic diplegia – a form of cerebal palsy which causes great stiffness or spascity in the spine.
It means that even now, aged three and a half, he is unable to walk properly by himself – instead resorting to a ‘bunny hop’-type manoeuvre on some occasions but sticking mainly to crawling.
Rachel, 33, added: “He can’t sit with his legs out in front of him, or in a normal high chair, and he can’t kneel.
“His legs are tight because of the condition and we’ve been told he will never walk unaided – he will always have to use a wheelchair or a walker.”
Rachel and husband Russ first heard about a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy or SDR on a TV programme and began making enquiries to see if it would be suitable for Ollie.
Now, after sending off a DVD recording and X-rays of his hips and spine, they have received the go-ahead from the experts in America that it should be beneficial for the Intake Pre-School pupil.
The operation – which involves cutting the abnormal nerves causing the spascity – is followed up by intense physiotherapy to build muscle strength in America, which will also continue back home in Sheffield.
In a year Ollie will also have to go back for another follow-up consultation.
Rachel has already completed the Sheffield Half Marathon in aid of the appeal, while a cake sale at Ollie’s nursery and bag-packing at Asda have helped add more money to the pot.
n Visit www.justgiving.com/sendollietostlouis to donate to the appeal, or email firstname.lastname@example.org