A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy with cerebral palsy, which means he is still unable to walk, 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 cerebral palsy which causes great stiffness or spasticity in the spine.
Rachel, 33, said: “He can’t sit with his legs out in front of him or in a normal high chair and he can’t kneel.
“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 inquiries to see if it would be suitable for Ollie. Now they have received the go-ahead from US experts.
The operation is followed up by intense physiotherapy to build muscle strength, which will continue in Sheffield.
In a year’s time Ollie, who goes to Intake Pre-school, will also have to go back for another follow-up consultation.
Rachel, also mum to Riegan, nine, and Evie, five, said she and Russ, 31, appreciate it is not a ‘quick fix’ solution.
“We know it’s going to take time and money and even then it won’t be a miracle cure,” the fitness instructor said.
“Ollie more than makes up for his disability with his personality – he is happy all the time. But it would be great for him to become more independent.”
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.
Visit www.justgiving.com/sendollie tostlouis or email firstname.lastname@example.org