SIX months on and look at him go!
Little Ollie Saxton is up on his feet and racing around his family’s garden in Intake, Sheffield, as if he has been doing it all his life.
But just a few months ago the four-year-old had never walked - and it took an operation paid for by readers of The Star to get him to where he is today.
Celebrating six months since her son underwent the procedure in an American hospital, mum Rachel said: “I can’t believe how far Ollie has come.
“He is doing so well.
“He can do so many things that were never possible before.”
Ollie, who was born with cerebral palsy, is now able to walk around his home and garden with just a pair of sticks or holding Rachel’s hand - something she never dreamed would be possible.
He can roam around his nursery school and even play on the climbing frame or slide.
And doctors think he could be walking unaided before Christmas.
Rachel, aged 34, who works as a fitness instructor at Ponds Forge, said: “He has such a great future ahead of him now, it’s wonderful what he can do.
“The other day I was in the kitchen and I thought he was playing in the lounge - and he suddenly appeared at the door.
“He had just walked through by holding on to the furniture - there’s no way that could have happened before.”
Just last October, Rachel and Ollie’s dad Russell, 32, an engineer, thought their chance to change their son’s life had disappeared when they received a £27,000 hospital bill they could not pay.
But a front-page appeal in The Star touched the hearts of people across South Yorkshire, and the money started rolling in.
Rachel and Russell raised £50,000 to fund the procedure at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri and the expensive equipment and physiotherapy required when Ollie was back home in Sheffield.
“We have been so pleased with everyone’s help,” said Rachel, also mum to Evie, six, and Riegan, 10.
“We probably need another £5,000 now - the physio is costing £160 a week and the equipment he needs is so expensive.
“We’ve just ordered an £1,100 therapy bike, which is modified so he can ride it outside.
“And he’s just got a suit that will help his muscles form in the right places - it’s just a tiny lycra suit but even that cost £800!
“But everyone has been so generous. People are doing so much for us.”
To follow Ollie’s progress, or to support his ongoing recovery, log on to sendollietostlouis.fullonweb.com