A LITTLE boy whose parents were once told would spend his life in a wheelchair has ditched his wheels for a walking frame thanks to a pioneering operation in America.
Family, friends and readers of The Star had all rallied around to support six-year-old Alexander Burland - raising a whopping £50,000 to pay for the Stateside treatment.
The Ecclesall Primary School pupil was diagnosed with cerebal palsy soon after his premature birth in Athens, Greece, while mum and dad Jayne and Christian were on holiday.
The condition left him dependent on his parents in most areas of his life because of the major difficulties he faced with posture and mobility. But now the operation, and the follow-up physiotherapy, has helped ease some of the spasticity in his spine - with amazing results.
Christian, aged 39, from Hunters Bar, said: “We are very pleased with how it’s all gone. Before, everything was really tight and his muscles were not being used properly, but now he is much more comfortable. He never uses his wheelchair now, he takes his walker to school and he goes out to the park and the shops with it. We hope soon he will move up to tripod sticks, then crutches and maybe hopefully one day he will be able to walk independently.
“We knew the operation wasn’t going to be some miracle overnight cure, but already what it has achieved is fantastic and we’re so pleased for him.”
The Burlands also offered their thanks to everyone who has supported them on their fundraising journey.
Helpers included a group of British ex-pats living in the Poitou-Charente region of France who raised 1,472 Euros at a village fete held in the grounds of a chateau. The event, supported by the mayor and local businesses, included live music, a raffle, tombola and a host of other stalls.
Christian cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End and Jayne, 40, completed a sky dive for the cause. Christian said: “The response we had was amazing - we are very grateful for everyone’s help.”